Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Hideo Hoshide Interview II
Narrator: Hideo Hoshide
Interviewer: Tom Ikeda
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: February 1 & 2, 2006
Densho ID: denshovh-hhideo-02

<Begin Segment 1>

TI: Today's February 1, 2006. This is the beginning of the third day of interviewing. On camera is Dana Hoshide, and I'm Tom Ikeda, I'm the interviewer. And last week, when we were finishing up the second day of interviewing, we were just finishing up your experiences in Minidoka. And you had accepted a job with the OSS, the Office of Strategic Services, and you were making plans to leave Minidoka. But one of the things that you had to do or figure out was how you were going to get from Minidoka to Washington, D.C. And I believe that first part, you drove your car. But I was curious, how did you get your car to Minidoka?

HH: Oh, after I arrived in Minidoka, then I understood that Reverend Andrews was hauling things from Seattle at the request of the evacuees or Japanese that were in Minidoka. And so after I found out that, I asked him if he could pick up my car that I left in Tacoma with a lawyer. And so he was able to bring the car out for me.


TI: So Reverend Andrews was, I guess, shipping things, or picking up things from Seattle and bringing it to Minidoka.

HH: Yes, things that were stored in our church and other areas, because they were not only the church members' things, but even the Buddhist Church people. So he was doing it for the community, any request that comes.

TI: And so you had a car in Tacoma that he went, picked up, and then he drove from Tacoma all the way to Minidoka, is that what he did?

HH: Yes.

TI: Okay, so he did that, and what kind of car was that? Can you tell me how you got this car?

HH: Well, I bought the car, as I mentioned before about having a car that I could haul Jimmy Sakamoto working at the Courier. But that was not the car that I had when I was going to school. I changed to a Plymouth Business Coupe, and that's the car I had stored in Tacoma.

TI: But I think I read someplace it was a 1940 Business Coupe?

HH: Yes.

TI: So that's a pretty nice car for a student. So how did you decide to get that car?

HH: Well, that was a used car, and well, I can't remember now why, but the car I had was a Chevy, first car that I had. So I don't know why I bought it, but it was a used car.

<End Segment 1> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 2>

TI: Okay. So now you have your car at Minidoka and you're going to leave. I'm curious, was it, what was it like telling your wife that you were going to leave? I mean, what kind of farewell did you have with your wife and your wife's family?

HH: She knew I was going to be leaving, but I can't remember if I got a letter or whatever indicating for me to come to Washington, D.C., from the OSS. But anyway, I left, I think it was about September of '43, '44. That's the year that I was drafted again.

TI: Okay. So describe, so you're leaving, so who did you go with? Did you go by yourself or were there other people in the car?

HH: No, I had another passenger that worked as a secretary in our community analysis department. And then the other one was this Tacoma fellow, Tsuyoshi...

TI: Nakamura?

HH: Nakamura, that's right. And he was already relocated to Chicago, and he was just visiting Minidoka. And he says, well, he would like to go home, go back to Chicago, and then also he could help me drive, so that was fine. And the other person was Pat Nakamoto, who wanted to visit her sister who was working near Ogden. So I had another passenger.

TI: Now, I'm curious, when you started off on this trip, did you have any apprehension about driving around the United States as a Japanese American? After being sort of in these camps for a while now, you were now kind of driving throughout the country. What were you thinking?

HH: I can't recall really what feelings, only thing was what happened during the trip, the first leg of it, I had two blowouts on my tire. And this was not too far from Ogden that I was stuck out there. Because I had two spares, but both tires, and I didn't have any means to repair it or anything like that, because it was just out in the sticks, really.

TI: So you were stranded on the highway, essentially...

HH: On the way to Ogden.

TI: And so what happened?

HH: Well, what I had to do was see if I could find somebody nearby, but I just didn't see any houses. It was just fields and these desert kind of area. And so I thought about somebody that was working on the Irrigator, that there was kind of a restaurant that was advertised in the Irrigator that was run by a Japanese firm. And so I finally... and also I knew that my cousin, Akira, he was already working in Ogden, but I didn't know where he lived or I didn't have his telephone number. So I thought that maybe if I can contact that restaurant, I was able to get probably a telephone number or whatever so I can contact him. But from there, I'm not too sure how I was able to get a call through, but I was able to contact him. And I told him what the problem I had and everything else. But they were -- well, "they" meaning he and his wife, my cousin -- and Ralph Kono, who had the Kono Garage in Seattle, whom I knew, anyway, they were both living in a motel just outside of the Ogden city area, and he was working in an auto repair shop. So my cousin asked me what kind of car I had and everything else, and when he comes back, he'll be able to come out and help me with getting another tire or whatever. So I had to wait until he came out. But when he came out, he had a rim, a tire already mounted, and so all you need to do is just remove that. And then so we drove the car into a motel, and that's where we stayed until then we can proceed again.

TI: So that's interesting, so you're pretty lucky then. You had your blowout and stranded right outside of Ogden...

HH: Yes, it's wartime, you see. [Laughs]

TI: And you were able to remember that there was a Japanese restaurant that used to advertise in the Irrigator, and so you were able to contact them over the phone to then get the phone number to your cousin Akira, and then he worked with this Ralph Kono at this car place.

HH: And they were both at this motel.

TI: At this motel, and they were able to, when they heard, when you explained to them the problem, they brought out a tire for you, a mounted tire.

HH: Yes, to fit my car.

TI: Because if you had been stranded someplace else, then it might have been harder to get everything fixed.

HH: Well, I thought maybe he could bring a patch and everything else and he could do this, but I was surprised that he had already had a mounted tire in the rim that will fit my car.

TI: Okay, and so finally you made it to Ogden.

HH: Yes.

TI: And then what happened?

HH: Well, then after that, we tried to find a spare tire, but we weren't able to right then. But by that time he was able to patch up the other tire, so we stayed there. I don't know if we stayed there a day, I think maybe only a day, and then we proceeded down to Salt Lake.

TI: Now, during this time period, there were probably shortages of things like tires and gasoline.

HH: Oh yes, because this is wartime and everything else, and so it was hard to find a new tire, it was a recap that we were going to try. So when we got to Salt Lake City, which was on the route that we were going east, after we got there, we at least tried to get the tire in Salt Lake City, we were able to get something that will keep us going.

<End Segment 2> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 3>

TI: Okay, so you go to Salt Lake City, and then where did you go?

HH: And also because of the wartime, that they had the gasoline, and that we had to have the scrips or something like that, and that was provided before we left Minidoka.

TI: So you knew you had enough of this scrips to get you all the way to, on your trip.

HH: Yes.

TI: Okay, good. So anything else interesting happen during this trip, do you remember?

HH: Well, on the way, we were able to stop in different places, because I think it took us about a good three days, I think, because I know we stopped at Des Moines, I think it is, and we arranged to drop in on Bill Hosokawa just shortly on the way. And then also I know we stopped --

TI: Well, when you stopped to talk to Bill Hosokawa, what was Bill doing at this time?

HH: Well, he was working for the Denver Post, I think it was, yeah.

TI: So he was working for the Denver Post at this time? And did you get a sense of how he was doing at this time? Because the war was still going on...

HH: Yes, well, he was working... I may be getting this mixed up, because that's what I'm saying. I think we were... Denver is one of the places we stopped, but I think maybe Bill was not there at the time. I think it was... what is it, the other newspaper that he was, I think I mentioned it to you before. Anyway, we did stop, and then overnight, we had to stay, and then also Lincoln, Nebraska, is another place that we knew another family that was relocated there, and before we got to Chicago. So we were able to drop in and see some people, but otherwise, it was driving all the way through. But every time we stopped anywhere, we would try to get an extra spare tire, and finally we were able to get a prewar tire which was a little bit oversized. But I said, well, this is better than not having any besides the tires that I had until we got to Chicago.

TI: Now, when you're in Illinois, the Chicago area, you decided to leave your car there and then take a train to Washington, D.C. Now, why did you decide to do that and not drive all the way to D.C.?

HH: Well, I was still worried about the -- not the gas, getting the gas -- but I was still worried about the tires and everything. So I thought maybe it would be better, because my brother-in-law, Kats Takakoshi, he was already married. They were relocated and he had a job working in Rockford, Illinois, which is about ninety miles away, closer to Elgin. Anyway, that I knew, so I decided to go there, at least to visit him, but I decided it would be better to leave the car there.

TI: Okay, that makes sense. So then you took a train to Washington, D.C. from there?

HH: Yes.

TI: And so why don't you talk about that? Did anything interesting happen on the train going to D.C.?

HH: No, it's just that I had to go back to Chicago and then take a train from there, and on to Washington, D.C.

<End Segment 3> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 4>

TI: Okay, so you arrive in Washington, D.C. Now, were you, was someone going to meet you there from the OSS, or how did you get from there to the OSS?

HH: Well, I arrived at Central Station in Washington, D.C. And near there, there was a place that I was supposed to go to catch a bus into where I should go, because I had to take a bus to go into Maryland. But I had instructions and everything else, so I was waiting for that bus to take us into Collingwood, the destination of where we had to go, to Maryland. And finally several buses came and I had to ask each one, "Is this the one that's going into Maryland?" Then I got on, but then I didn't know... I knew that it should be segregated seating in a bus. So I had to ask... well, I didn't know because nobody was on the bus yet.

TI: So you knew the buses were segregated, and you, I guess I'm trying to figure out, so you weren't sure where you were supposed to sit on the bus.

HH: Well, yes.

TI: Whether or not, I mean, back then it was, like, the "colored" section for blacks, and then the white section.

HH: Yes.

TI: And so what were you thinking?

HH: Well, I knew that they, the blacks, were supposed to sit in the back end, and so I didn't know where I should be. So I thought, well, maybe I should sit around the middle of the bus, and then as I see them filling up. But it wasn't really that filled up that there was any problem. But anyway, I was sitting about halfway back.

TI: So you were thinking that as more whites came on, you would just always be behind the whites but in front of the blacks?

HH: Yes. [Laughs] In between, I thought it would be a safe place, because there was no designation where the blacks were supposed to sit, behind that line or something.

TI: Okay, so that's interesting. All right. And then what happened?

HH: Then as we started getting into Virginia, because that's the bus to Alexandria, and that's where you had to change to a bus that went to Mount Vernon area, that I had to change the bus, to take the bus. So it was kind of a big question that I didn't know where to go, but there was a lady sitting in the front side, and she heard me talking to the driver. And she says, "I'm going to be going near," where I arrive at Alexandria. So she says, "Why don't you sit here," with her.

TI: That's interesting. So while you were talking to the bus driver to make sure that you were, first, on the right bus, and how to get to where you were going, this white woman overheard you and said she was going to a place that was nearby.

HH: To her home.

TI: To her home nearby, and she asked you, and she said, she invited you to sit right next to her.

HH: Yes. And I was kind of surprised, too, because this was one of the first times that I'm by myself in a public area. And so after I met the people at the OSS headquarters that they had, where I'm going to be staying, I mentioned that. And they told me, "You know, when you're over here, there's only two classifications. You're either a white or a black. There's nothing in between." I'm yellow race. [Laughs] And says, "You're a white." And that was kind of a strange experience that I had.

TI: So there wasn't like this middle place where, in between the blacks and the whites for you, that you were white. That's interesting.

HH: Because even Washington, D.C., they didn't have blacks living in a certain area. It was always a designated place that they, Washington, D.C. is the capitol, it still had a designated area for blacks.

TI: So this being your first experience with segregation, how did that make you feel when you saw that?

HH: Well, I was surprised, really, because we were segregated during the second war. And I was not prepared for that, really. I mean, I didn't know how I should act, whether I'm a black or a white. [Laughs]

TI: Right, because you had just come from a segregated situation, and now you were, interestingly, you were put in the white section and not the black section. Did you see anything in terms of the prejudice against blacks during this time period?

HH: Well, I didn't know about, I'm sure Washington, D.C. was the same as segregation goes, but employment and things like that, there were blacks working in the restaurants and things but mostly only as cooks and waiters. But when I finally found out about the restrooms is after I got, when I got inducted and everything else, and on the way to induction center. The restrooms were, you had separate entrances for blacks and whites.

TI: But by this time, you knew that you were to go to the whites'.

HH: Yes, I had to be sure that... I knew that there was separate restrooms.

<End Segment 4> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 5>

TI: Okay, so you mentioned being inducted, so we should, let's talk about that. Because you first went to the OSS as a civilian...

HH: Yes.

TI: But then shortly after, you were then drafted. And so you had to join the military while you were back in the Washington, D.C. area.

HH: Yes. See, evacuation, I was already, before Seattle's selective service, I was already 1-A, considered 1-A, which means that I'm eligible to be drafted. But during the, when we were in the evacuation centers, all of us were, we were citizens and subject to the draft and everything else, but our classification was changed to 4-C, which is like an alien ineligible for draft. And that's kind of a sign of, we were specially exempt from the draft. But if you left the relocation camp, then you'll be subject to draft, unless you were a volunteer, like later on when they opened the...

TI: So during this period, you were classified as 1-A, and then you were drafted.

HH: Well, when I got recruited by this Bruce Rogers...

TI: Right, he --

HH: Tule Lake, that subject came up. If I ever possibly...

TI: Right, Bruce said, I think -- you said this last time -- was that one, you probably won't get drafted because you had a daughter, you were a father.

HH: Yes.

TI: And furthermore, he said, and if you do get drafted, he would see to it that you would be commissioned as an officer.

HH: Well, he didn't say "see to it," he says, "We could get you maybe a commission as an officer."

TI: Commissioned as an officer. So when you were drafted, what happened?

HH: Well, but I didn't have any written things like that, so I had to report for induction.

TI: I'm curious, after you reported to the OSS, did you ever see Bruce Rogers and ask him about that?

HH: No, because we were in a separate area, Mount Vernon area. Incidentally, that place where we were stationed, really, was the former teahouse for President Washington. That was part of his estate, Mount Vernon.

TI: Right. I'll go to that a little bit later, but I wanted to just finish up the induction part. So when you were inducted, was the army thinking that you would go back to OSS, or were they thinking that you would possibly go into a replacement for the 442 or something else?

HH: No, after I got inducted and went to, I had to go to Fort Meade for induction, and that's when I had to, they didn't assign me to any except the induction center, which is Fort Meade in Maryland. I asked, or in a sense volunteered that I would like to return to my OSS for assignment.

TI: So I'm curious, when you said that, that you were to go back to the OSS, did the army people know who you were and what the OSS was, and was that an easy thing to do? Was it already arranged?

HH: Yes. There was no problem. But so the thing was that when we were inducted, the only two so-called whites were myself and this another young white man that we were both assigned as corporals to lead the group of inductees into Fort Meade. We were given the responsibility, and also I was older so I had all the records and everything else, and the rest were all blacks from Virginia.

TI: I mean, was this --

HH: But this is Baltimore, where the induction center was.

TI: I want to make sure I understand this. So were you formally made a corporal, or just informally?

HH: No, no, to be in charge of the group, because we were just taking the bus into the station, the bus station, and wait for the bus to come from Fort Meade. And that's when I had to be sure that I had everybody in my group, that I wouldn't be able to identify them and everything else, so I was very worried that if they all went to the restroom or something like that, then I wouldn't know which one. So I made sure by saying, okay, only two at a time could go. And when they came back, then I would send two others. Because I had all the records so I would be sure that I had control over these, because we were responsible for them.

TI: So I'm curious, did you ever have any discussions with the black soldiers? I mean, were they curious about who you were or anything like that?

HH: No. But as soon as we got into Fort Meade, they were, the blacks were taken away and we were in a separate barrack with all the white soldiers.

TI: Interesting.

HH: So it was kind of interesting to me that they were... and then we didn't have to pull any KP, that's the kitchen police, mess hall, but the blacks were already peeling potatoes and things like that. And we both, this fellow and myself, we didn't have to do anything, just go down and eat in the mess hall and everything else, but not pull KP duty.

TI: Interesting.

HH: [Laughs] So I was not segregated or anything like that, which was kind of strange to me.

<End Segment 5> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 6>

TI: Okay, so let's now go back to the OSS, and you were just starting to talk how, where you were stationed with the OSS was at a former teahouse of General Washington?

HH: Yes.

TI: So why don't you describe the facilities and who was there at the OSS.

HH: Well, the place was very, like a mansion, with four columns, white, like the White House, but smaller scale. It was part of George Washington's, President Washington's estate. And this is right on the Potomac River, and the way I understand it, in those days, they had to go travel by horse and wagon or cart or whatever, or horseback, that the teahouse was one of the places they could stay on the way to Washington, D.C. It's not that close, you see.

TI: So General Washington, his main mansion was at Mount Vernon, and this teahouse was sort of like in between Washington, D.C. and Mount Vernon.

HH: And Alexandria.

TI: So tell me, so who else was there? I mean, how many people were at this facility?

HH: Well, the facility, they had a little detachment of soldiers that took care of the security and everything. It was not enclosed with barbed wires or anything like that, it was just like a teahouse. And anybody can come and go in that area, and then the cooks were the military personnel. And the rest of us were so-called civilians or in the OSS, it was not only like us, Japanese Americans or nationals, but there were also, from Japan, some were anti-militarists or considered radicals in Japan. And then also we learned later that one of the men was, I think, schooled in Moscow, so he was more or less considered as a Communist. But otherwise, the OSS, I found out, at that time, was a very hush-hush organization, although it was organized under the War Department. But the organization was not a military organization, but they do have a military portion of it.

TI: Okay, so let me make sure I have this. So the unit that you were in was a mixture of a variety of people. You had Japanese Americans, you had...

HH: Japanese nationals.

TI: Japanese nationals. Did you also have Caucasians in there, too, or just...

HH: No, no.

TI: Okay, so Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans. And the Japanese nationals were ones who tended to be anti-military, or in one case, a Communist, a Moscow-trained Communist. So these were Japanese nationals who opposed what Japan was currently doing, so they were working for the U.S. government.

HH: Yes. And some were recruited in China, I think, known to be, so they had gone into China, and eventually probably came to the United States or something like that. But I don't know where they were recruited, but those were the known anti-militarists. They weren't in Japan anymore, and this one fellow I'm talking about, the Communist, was Joe Koide, that eventually became more or less like the leader of our group, because he's the one that seems to know more about Japan. See, most of us were from the, were Nisei or Kibei. And everything was spoken in Japanese, regular Japanese. So I think that's one of the reasons why I probably was... I wouldn't say I was very good in Japanese language, but because I had pretty good credentials, I guess, at the University of Washington when I changed into political science and I had to brush up more of my Japanese language and everything. But it was more of a, everything would be done in Japanese, because we were in the section of OSS that... and also, we were subject to censorship. All our letters out went through APO Washington, we weren't able to mail any letters out. And also we were not to say we're the Office of Strategic Services, but we would always, when we would meet somebody in Washington, D.C. or wherever, we would always say "Oh So Sweet," OSS.

TI: So this group was a top-secret group, it was sort of kept under wraps. And so I'm curious, this is, you're the first person I've talked to that was kind of in a group like this. How large was the group?

HH: I can't remember really the number of people, but I would say that it wasn't that large a group. I think they had, not all were in the same kind of category. We were probably, I thought maybe I was translator or something like that in Japanese, but there were technicians or something like that, because I presume it was for maybe writing fliers or whatever it is, pamphlets or something like that.

TI: Sort of propaganda.

HH: Propaganda type, yeah. It was more for, I figured, propaganda.

TI: So here there were these different groups, so one was you were saying, were more, you called it technicians, who were kind of writing these fliers. What was your group supposed to do?

HH: Our group, well, one of the things, I say this because we were just like what we're doing here, we were supposed to read certain things in Japanese to test our voice and our delivery and all this, one of the things that we had. And then also if we could, not too much about if we can read Japanese characters or whatever.

TI: So it was more in terms of Japanese translation, interpretation?

HH: Well, this is what I thought, because of the nature of it. Because we knew it was intelligence type, but I didn't know this at the time when I was recruited. It's only after I went to, actually to this Collingwood and I met the other people and started to get training or something like, that I found out that they were not all for that type of work, propaganda work. But they had pressmen, leaflets and things like that, probably would have to be printed in Japanese characters and whatever. So they had printers and pressmen along with us.

TI: So let me go back to the question I asked earlier, too. So roughly how many people? Not the exact number, but just roughly how large were the groups?

HH: I think, I don't think it was any more than about twelve or so, yes. Because when we finally, after a while, when we received further training while we were still in the United States -- we didn't, I didn't even know that we were going to be going overseas.

<End Segment 6> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 7>

TI: So talk about that training. When you say "further training," what was that training?

HH: Well, while we were at Collingwood in Maryland, we did go through individual sessions about if you were captured or something like that, you know, like prisoner of war. Says you'll be in your uniform, not like a spy. And I'm the only one that was already in the service, but at that time, when I first got there, I was a civilian. And also, all our pay was in cash. And I couldn't believe it, getting, receiving twenty dollar bills. In those days, especially after being in relocation camps, I was only getting nineteen dollars. But here, this was equivalent of a pay scale, and so I know, I can't remember now how much I was getting, but I was getting paid in twenty dollar bills.

TI: So, that's interesting. So some of the training that you received was, in the case that you were captured, and because you were, at that time you were a civilian and the others were civilians, that you were, essentially would be captured as spies.

HH: Well, this was what I thought, because the OSS was already operating in Europe, in Italy, and we had operatives to help in Italy, Italians. And so they would be working behind the lines.

TI: So the OSS in Europe, they were working behind the lines as spies, and so the, I guess the logical thinking would be that you were also being trained to be spies overseas in Japan.

HH: Well, this is why, but I didn't know that we would be going overseas, but I just presumed that. And then I had to take a basic training in Virginia, Fort Belvoir, myself, because I was in the service. And so I took the training there, away from the group. And there, that was my basic training, just a very brief, not like their regular, in the army, like rifle and everything else. But I did take a rifle and the pistol and all this, just like basic training. But it was just very, very basic type, not into stripping your M-1 rifle and had to know all the parts and everything else, so it was very... but we did participate in throwing grenades and things like that, and I was very afraid of throwing, because I had never fired a rifle or thrown a grenade. It was the first experience for me.

TI: Okay, so you took this basic training, and more for infantry. But going back to Collingwood, what other kind of training or classes did you do?

HH: Well, as I mentioned, they did train, give us a session on if, just like being grilled in a dark room, just a spotlight on you like you're a prisoner, and they'll be grilling you on different things. And in the military, all you're supposed to say is just your rank and your service number, all that kind of stuff, and you don't have to say anything else. And so we were trained, I used to say that for myself, it was like a prisoner of war type. But everybody went through that.

TI: Okay, so besides sort of, it sounds like sort of being interrogated, that was one kind of session, what other kind of training did you receive?

HH: Well, other training was just like video, like we would be checked to see if we were able to broadcast in Japanese, authentic Japanese speaking, or just maybe as, possibly going behind the line. But I didn't know at the time that we were even going overseas.

<End Segment 7> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 8>

TI: So how long were you at Collingwood?

HH: Well, as I mentioned, I think I remember that I think we left around September, and by December, early December, when I was drafted, inducted, that's only three months. So it wasn't that long, and after that, we were preparing ourselves to get further training on the West Coast in Catalina Island off Long Beach in California, and our headquarters was in Los Angeles. And that's going ahead, but that's where we took our training before going overseas.

TI: So let's go to the West Coast, and before we get to the West Coast, were you able to visit your family before your...

HH: Yes. Whenever I had a chance to, for the group, the one that was picked, not everybody was picked. The ones that were not picked to go overseas with the team, I think the team only was about, I would say, eight or so. And there was another fellow that was in the military that joined us, former 442, it was in Shelby, and I think he was recruited. But he was from Texas, and his Japanese wasn't that good. I mean, I don't think, I was wondering why he was selected, because he had a Japanese name, I guess, that they recruited him, but he and I were the only two that eventually was picked to go overseas for training at Catalina Island.

TI: Okay, so this team was picked to go to Catalina Island for more training. But let's go back, so you were able to visit your --

HH: On those times that we went, I think we went two times, I think. Once to go for training, and then we went back to Washington, D.C., and then finally, final time was that we were to go back to Catalina Island and then we stayed there until we had to go down to Riverside, which was the port of embarkation for that area. And they had a camp there, and we boarded a ship.

TI: So that's where you were shipped overseas.

HH: Yes.

TI: But before we go there, I wanted to talk about visiting your family at Minidoka, and when you went to Minidoka, how much could you tell them about what you were doing? They were probably asking you what type of work, or what's your mission.

HH: Well, the only thing I could tell them, really, was I was in Washington, D.C., and I was working for the War Department. I didn't even say anything about, they wouldn't know anything about the Office of Strategic Services, so I just... and my family knew where I was working because my wife was receiving the letters, censored letters.

TI: But did they, did you tell them that you were going to be shipped into the Pacific?

HH: No, no.

<End Segment 8> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 9>

HH: Even at the port of embarkation, before we left, they issued all of us, the Japanese nationals on the team, and there were some of those people like Joe Koide, but they were all commissioned. I mean, they were issued officers, except myself. I already had the regular GI clothing, but all of the others had a simulated officer uniform. In other words, no designation of what the rank or anything like that. But pay-wise, equivalent to the pay, I'm sure, and I knew that they were getting equivalent of, some were lieutenant-colonel rank, and the others were probably captains or whatever it is. I don't know what their ranks were, but they didn't have any designation. And when we got onto the ship, we didn't know where we were going to go either at that time, but as far as the time that we were at Riverside, port of embarkation, I had to tell these guys that, "You have to salute," because other soldiers that are going overseas, they wouldn't know if they are, but they'll be saluted. And I said, "Don't just be, snag around, you got to salute them and everything else," because they wouldn't know.

TI: So you had to tell them how to be an officer, essentially, and salute them back.

HH: Yes. [Laughs]

TI: Well, that's kind of interesting. So the other members of your group, the civilians, were given sort of these, you said pseudo-officer uniforms and pay, but they weren't military. They weren't...

HH: No, they weren't in the military, but to go overseas, you couldn't go as civilians. And this is a military transport, the ship that we were going.

TI: But you were already in the military as a private.

HH: Yes.

TI: So you just got the private pay, and these other guys got paid more, they got officer pay.

HH: Yes, yes, and they were very concerned about that, the rest of the group.

TI: And they were concerned because they didn't think it was fair, or what do you mean by concerned?

HH: No, they knew that I was not getting that kind of pay anymore, even in Washington, D.C., or Collingwood. They knew that I was getting the GI pay which was only fifty dollars or whatever it was, and so sometimes we had poker games, and they would say, hey, they would put my money to play, if I wanted to play, because I didn't have that kind of money.

TI: Oh, so they would, like, give you money to play poker with?

HH: Well, they'll all chip in my money, they'll give me money so I could play with them. [Laughs]

TI: Because they all got paid more, even though you were all doing kind of the same work.

HH: Yes, they were getting equivalent, I didn't know how much. And I can't remember how much I got either.

TI: So, it's funny. So if you weren't, if you weren't drafted, if you weren't inducted and stayed a civilian, you would have gotten paid more.

HH: Well, I would have gotten the same pay as them, in twenty dollar bills or whatever, yes.

<End Segment 9> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 10>

TI: So you were talking about Riverside as the point of embarkation, or disembarkation. Before we do that, while you were training at Catalina Island, that's nearby Los Angeles.

HH: Long Beach.

TI: Yeah, Long Beach. And this is the beginning of 1945, so the war's still going on. And I'm curious, did you ever get a chance to go into Los Angeles?

HH: Yes. If we go with a group, the GIs that were also sent with us to Catalina Island, so that they could prepare meals and everything else, I guess, and for security, too, while we're on Catalina Island, when they wanted to go into L.A., I could go with them. So they were always inviting me to go. And there was another Chinese fellow from New York that joined us in Catalina Island, not of our group, but anyway, he was also stationed with us at Catalina Island. And so whenever we went to town, I would have it with him, so we would go into Chinatown area or wherever, I was always with him, even though L.A. was more or less, Little Tokyo area, we could go in, and Chinatown area.

TI: Well, when you went into Little Tokyo, what was Little Tokyo like?

HH: Well, Little Tokyo was like, I didn't see what Seattle or other cities, how they were, even Tacoma, because we were more or less not restricted, but we were restricted within five miles, so I didn't know what the place looked like boarded up. And I heard that they were having some problems in some of the areas closed up by evacuation, business places and all that, but this was the first time I was able to see the Little Tokyo area with this Chinese fellow, 'cause he wanted to go into Chinatown area and have a meal there while we're out. But we were on per diem if we go off of our base, so we were all the ones on leave, we were on per diem. So we were always together, lodging, and where we were, when we went to Los Angeles, there was a YMCA nearby the headquarters area that all of us, I think it was eight of us, that one occasion that we went. And so we would all be in a double room, all eight of us. [Laughs]

TI: All eight of you in one double room?

HH: Yes. [Laughs]

TI: But I'm curious, when you guys went, when you -- especially you, when you went to Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, what did you see? What did it look like?

HH: Well, the Little Tokyo area was all boarded up with the signs "No Japs Allowed" or wanted, or whatever. So I saw all those signs and everything else, but it was deserted. There was hardly anybody in that area anyway. I don't know if it was segregated or anything, because there was nothing to indicate that except we could just walk around. Of course, we were in uniform anyway.

TI: And how did that compare to when you went to Chinatown, Los Angeles? What was that like?

HH: Chinatown was just like as usual, so when he said, we stopped at the noodle shop, it was run by Chinese, and naturally they just talked Chinese to both of us. And this friend of mine, he didn't say he's from New York himself, but he said he's from New York. He didn't say he was Chinese or anything, but I think they assumed I was Chinese. And says he's from New York and he doesn't speak Chinese. [Laughs]

TI: So the Chinese restaurant owners thought you were Chinese, but just weren't able to speak Chinese.

HH: Yes, that's right.

TI: Okay, that's funny.

<End Segment 10> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 11>

TI: Okay, so let's go, now you leave Riverside to go where? What's the next step, where do you go next?

HH: Well, we still didn't know where we were going to be sent. We thought possibly to Alaska, because it was reported that a Japanese submarine was off the Aleutian Island area. And so we were prepared to more or less be going up. At the same time, they issued us winter clothing, not the summer clothing. So it was a surprise to us after we boarded the ship, that we were almost sure, because winter clothing was issued to us, to all of us. And at the same time, I would just mention to you that the others, the OSS crew, they were all assigned to the officers' quarters and I was assigned to the regular GI area. And right away, when they found out, after we set sail and everything else, and they had the SP, shore patrol, not MP, on a ship they say shore patrol, SP, they'll be guarding the stairs that goes up to the upper level that's off-limits for the enlisted people. And I had to go to the chow line down below, but they immediately went to the captain of the ship and got a special permit for me that I'm part of the crew and I'm supposed to be with them. So I was assigned to be able to show that pass. And unfortunately, I didn't keep that little pass that I showed.

TI: So were you able to sleep up on the upper decks, too?

HH: Yes, on the upper, officers' quarter. And see, the officers, they had to pay just like the other officers, their meals and everything. So I couldn't get that, but they said, "Don't worry," they could always say the guy's in sickbay or he's not able to come, he's sick or something, and they would get me the meals. And then I was able to go to the showers and everything else. And so I was up on the upper deck. And when I, up there, look down, some guys would say, "What's he doing up there?" [Laughs]

TI: So you got, yeah, so you had a better trip over because of the...

HH: Oh, yes.

TI: Because it was a big difference between the two?

HH: Yes. And the other thing is, the meals and all, the officers have better meals, and the GIs are not able to get showers, they had only showers on the deck, open kind of place where you could take a shower, but it was not like the officers.

TI: That's good. That's a good story. So where did you end up going on the ship? Where did it go?

HH: Well, it got warmer and warmer, and then I noticed that the GIs were making shorts out of their long pants and everything, and some, we were issued fatigues, which is a cotton deal, and they would cut the pants off, the legs off and make shorts and everything else. But it got warmer and warmer until we found out we were -- it took us a month, thirty days, to go from Riverside to Calcutta. So along the way, it must have been almost... I think they said we were, they could see Samoa, Samoan Islands. So we knew we were going south. So we thought that possibly we'd be going into Southeast Asia or probably India by that time. And then we did stop at Perth, which is on the western side of Australia, the ship stopped there to get water and things like that. So while we were there, the crew was able to leave the ship to have a meal at a Chinese restaurant in Perth, and I was able to go along with them. And that's the first time that we were able to get, they were all starving for Japanese rice, or the rice that we knew, and we were ready to just about clean out the -- I think it was rationed, too, for the restaurants in Australia, rice. But I think we ate up all his quota in that restaurant. [Laughs]

TI: So you went from Perth, and then where did you go?

HH: Well, after Perth, then we had to go into Indian Ocean and also around Calcutta, into Indian Ocean. We knew we would be passing through the area with a Japanese fighter or submarine possibility, and so they started practicing, the GIs on board, on putting up a white balloon and they would kind of practice shooting. But I never saw them shoot any of those balloons down, so I got real worried. And so I couldn't sleep nighttime because I thought it would be better to sleep out on the, not on the bunk. I thought it'd be better if I slept outside, in case I got bombed. [Laughs]

TI: You were concerned that because --

HH: Torpedoed.

TI: Because you were concerned that the shooters were not very good, that you guys might get sunk or something, it'd be better on deck to get off the ship.

HH: Yes, because I was up on the deck, and I could see them shooting at these targets and everything else every day while we're sailing into... and I thought, boy, if a Japanese torpedo plane came from Java, which is close, I thought that I don't think, we were gonna get torpedoed, and the Indian Ocean is full of sharks.

<End Segment 11> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 12>

TI: Okay. Now, the time period, this is about July of 1945?

HH: Yes.

TI: And so the war is actually towards the end of the war, and at this point, what was it like? I mean, was there a real threat from the Japanese military at this point?

HH: Yes, this is the time when we, when we first got into Calcutta, we were stationed outside of an area in a compound which was... in those days, India was still part of the British colony. And so Calcutta was the headquarters of, they had a base there for all the Allied soldiers, like Australians, Canadians and U.S. soldiers. They were all stationed, they had a base there, but we were separated and away from them. And so we had to take a jeep or whatever it was, bus, from our area which was right next to the Indian town, people that are living right next to us in their homes, mud kind of housing.

TI: And the thing about your group, I'm curious, you are a U.S. citizen, and you were a GI. But the others, especially the ones who were Japanese nationals, what kind of access did they have? Were they able to walk around as freely as you were?

HH: Within the compound, yes, because that was fenced off anyway.

TI: Okay, so within the compound, how about outside the compound?

HH: No, they were not able to.

TI: And they weren't able to because they were afraid that they, why weren't they?

HH: No, I think it was, they knew that already. But I was able to go into Calcutta anytime I wanted to.

TI: So the other members of your group weren't able to go to Calcutta.

HH: No.

TI: Okay, so that made you kind of valuable, because you were able to go to places they...

HH: Well, I was able to go into town, and they wanted to supplement their meals with rice and everything else. We did have some rice there, too, but I was able to go into Calcutta and go to restaurants. They were all run by Chinese, overseas, so-called overseas Chinese, they were part of the richer, you know, they have the caste system. So I saw the difference of the caste people and the Hindus and all this. So it was kind of -- and I was able to go into movies and things like that.

TI: So you were able to go to Calcutta while the others weren't, so you could see movies. You could also go to restaurants and pick up food for the others?

HH: Yes, and then also going to the market and buy things for them, whatever they want me to buy.

TI: Now, while the group was in the compound, what type of activities, what type of work did you guys do?

HH: Well, what we did was we had a shortwave radio that we could monitor into Japan. So we would listen to that whenever it came on. At the same time, I remember one time, at that time they were contemplating on us going into China, southern part, because that was where the wartime capital was. And I think it's Xinjiang province, but anyway, we were to fly over the Himalayas into China. But they changed that idea, and that's where the U.S. Air Force people, General Stillwell, had a group there. Then also, at that time, I was able to get into the northern part of Burma, which is now called Myanmar, way up in the northern end. And I know that there was a U.S. "fighting engineers," combat engineers that went all the way down from Burma down to Rangoon. And they were ready to capture or take, neutralize that area of Burma.

TI: So those were kind of earlier plans. If you were sent to either southern China or this area in Burma, what kind of work would you be doing? Would that be behind Japanese lines, or would that be just more interrogating prisoners of war? What do you think that would have been?

HH: Well, that was so that originally, they had plans -- this is from the OSS headquarters site -- that they were going to use us to go behind the lines and pick up intelligence. That was one idea that they had, maybe going up to the Burma area.

TI: As well as China. That would have been, sort of, behind lines.

HH: Well, yes, originally. Because General MacArthur, who had control of the Pacific area, wouldn't let the OSS operate in his area, so we were under British control, general.

TI: Now, why didn't MacArthur want the OSS operating in his area?

HH: I don't know what that is, but it's like an area commander, like Eisenhower, had eastern, ETO. Pacific area, I think MacArthur didn't want the -- even though we were under the War Department, which is above all, as far as that's concerned, all the army and navy and everything else. MacArthur didn't want it because he said, "I have my own intelligence, G2."

TI: Okay, so you had to operate pretty much where the British were operating.

HH: But we said we were not interpreters, we were going to go in to help along with them. But for some reason, McArthur did not allow our OSS group to go in.

TI: So instead, so you were operating more under the British area.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 13>

TI: Now, when the earlier, sort of those earlier projects, when they were being talked about, how did you feel about that? Were you sort of apprehensive about possibly being sent into Japanese territory?

HH: Oh, yes, because by that time, we were sent down to Ceylon, which is now Sri Lanka, and we were waiting for, had continued training, same kind of training that we received at Catalina Island, which is to get in on a rubber raft for bombing, new type of bomb made out of clay, molded so that you could detonate it on any kind of shape, just put the clay-like thing and then put the activator, and use it as a bomb. It was a new kind of secret type of bomb that they used in Italy.

TI: So it sounds almost like plastic explosives, type of thing?

HH: Yes.

TI: So you were being trained to go behind lines, set explosives, and sort of disrupt the Japanese...

HH: Yes. That was some of the things, like sabotage type work. But the main purpose was not to do that, just because we had to go into areas like Java and eventually Borneo and those areas, and just pick up intelligence like letters, Japanese letters that soldiers might have. So just to sneak in behind the lines and pick up any kind of information, intelligence, and then leave on a submarine. See, that was what we were being trained by getting on a rubber raft and then eventually picked up by the submarine, and when we go over there, then we had to wait for the submarine to pick us up. This is the type of work that we were being trained.

TI: So the primary purpose was to really pick up surveillance. I mean, as much information as you could get behind enemy lines was your primary, but they also gave you this explosives training just in case...

HH: That was one of the reasons we were going to Catalina Island. And so a side kind of interesting thing about it is that we would have to be using these explosives deal and a rubber raft, so we would, I mean, I was able to take a little piece of this clay-like dynamite, and take a rubber raft, and as part of my training, I would go and detonate it and pick up the fish and everything that the rest of the crew wanted for sashimi, the raw fish. [Laughs] I was able to just pick up these stunned fish which were very abundant over there, because that was more of a fishing area, Catalina Island. And then also we were able to get lobsters and things, lobsters.

TI: So you'd use these explosives to stun the fish --

HH: This was part of my training. [Laughs]

TI: And then when the fish floated to the top, you would grab them and bring them back.

HH: Yes. And then I'll paddle back, and I was supposed to crawl through the cactus areas, and like at nighttime, I was supposed to crawl onto shore, and that was part of the training.

TI: All while you were carrying the fish, too?

HH: Yes, well, I had a little bag that I could... but I wasn't being watched or anything like that, because it's not that big an area. But we were in kind of a fenced-off area anyway. Avalon is a town on Catalina Island, and they had a dance hall and everything, and church and everything else, but we were off-limits except on Sunday if you wanted to go, but I never did go into, because you had to go over the hill, and we were near Avalon. It was like a youth camp, so it was an isolated area.

TI: That's a good story. [Laughs]

<End Segment 13> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 14>

TI: So let's go back to Ceylon, and did you ever have a mission where you had to go behind the lines and do something like you were trained for?

HH: No. We continued to kind of produce whatever part of our training in case we were able to get, say, a Japanese letter that the soldiers might have left. So our type of leaflet was, for some reason, they said it's not a "white propaganda," but it's a "black propaganda." The difference is that we had a broadcast, OWI, Office of War Information, that was beaming propaganda things to Japan anyway. But OSS one is not going to be that way. Ours is going to be a leaflet, and it's going to be kind of a copy of Japanese letters that the families sent to the soldiers. And we just change it to say, at home, "We're having a hard time," and all that, just for morale type thing, for the soldiers that are in the jungles and away from home in the Southeast Asia area.

TI: So it's kind of like psychological warfare. You would sort of create these letters that could then be leafleted to the soldiers in the jungles?

HH: Yes, so that they would pick up these leaflets, and find out that, oh, here's a letter somebody sent, and it must be authentic deal. This was our mission, not to say that this is a propaganda-type thing, produced, so it had to be a very real kind of thing that soldiers... this was primarily for the soldiers, not home.

TI: So your job was to create these letters so that they looked really authentic, so when the soldiers did pick it up they thought that it wasn't coming from the U.S. Army, but it was really coming from, dropped from, like, a Japanese soldier, so that they would...

HH: Yes, so even letters and things like that, we had to kind of simulate whatever that looks more Japanese, original, not a copy or anything like that.

TI: And so imagine that's why the Japanese nationals were so valuable, because they were, because of their language, their nuances, their understanding of the culture, they could really help create those.

HH: Yes, because, you see, language is kind of an unusual kind of thing. The people who were already moved to, like our Issei, and Kibei and such, see, they were so far away that a lot of terms and things like that is different, especially during the wartime. We didn't know what kind of conditions, which I found out later, that there were lots of new kind of words that they were using at the time. So it would be a dead giveaway if you use the wrong Japanese term, word for it. And so we had to make it very, very authentic.

TI: So what was your role during all of this?

HH: Well, this is the type of thing, my role was to go into the -- and I was the only one that was going to go in, because I had the uniform on and everything else. Not these people. They were to produce it, and I was the one to go into Java, our mission, that went down to Ceylon area, or Sri Lanka. And I continued to take my training, rubber raft and everything else, because that place called Trincomalee is where, closest to Java on the Indian Ocean, and I was supposed to pick up the submarine there with my rubber raft.

TI: So it sounds like you had the dangerous job, then.

HH: Yes, it would be, yes. [Laughs]

TI: The others were going to just, like, stay --

HH: They were going to just stay.

TI: -- in the compound and work on these letters, and you were the one being trained to go behind the lines.

HH: To pick up the...

TI: Pick up things and maybe drop things off.

HH: Yes, yes.

TI: So how did that make you feel?

HH: Well, I didn't let on, but it was a big worry on my part when it's going to happen. But I was very lucky in the sense that the war ended in Japan.

TI: Because you were lucky, because you got there sort of in July, and within a month, the atomic bomb was dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So you didn't really have the opportunity to do all the things that you were being trained to.

HH: Yes.

<End Segment 14> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 15>

TI: Let's talk about this. How did you hear about the bombing of Hiroshima?

HH: Well, we had radio and things like that. So anyway, we found out on that day that they said that Japan has surrendered and all that kind of stuff, it was kind of a riot in our compound, the GI complement that was with us. See, they were able to get the guns and everything else, we didn't have any guns. But they, I think, started celebrating, and somebody at least was able to get a hold of the rifles and everything else, and they started shooting around. And sometimes it looked like the bullets were coming our way. [Laughs] But then they finally left, I understand, that they went into Calcutta and said that the war's over in Calcutta. And also in Ceylon, they had to, they wanted to release the prisoners in jail for some reason. So that's why they took the guns and they went into town, and I don't know whatever happened to those people, those GIs, whether they got court-martialed or something. But anyway, they were drinking and everything else, and somebody said, "Hey, let's go release all the people in the jail." I don't know why, but that's what I heard. So they finally left and we were relieved that they were gone.

TI: Yeah, it sounds really wild with the drinking and everything. I'm curious, did the Japanese nationals in your group, how did they feel about the ending of the war? Did you ever talk to them about that or did they ever express their thoughts?

HH: Well, eventually I had to leave because I got transferred to, summons to leave them. That's where I left them, in Ceylon.

TI: Well, before you left, what was the group dynamics? I mean, were you guys a pretty close group?

HH: Yes, yes. Since it was like a segregated or, we were not supposed to address each other, only on first name only. But among us, we did not. I knew their names and everything else, and they knew my name, but not for the organization. They wanted to keep it like a hush-hush organization or something like that for their privacy, I think. Especially those that came from Japan, yes.

TI: Now, do you think, did they ever use false names or pseudonyms?

HH: Well, the only one that I know was Joe, I didn't know what Koide, I found out later in my research that that was a name that he took, and I do have his real name, later after...

TI: Oh, so Joe Koide was not his real name, that was just a name he used.

HH: Yes. And then the other one was Taro Yashima, he was an artist, and was very well-known in children's books and everything, a little cartoon-type of thing, the children's books in Japan. So apparently he was using that pen name, Taro Yashima.

TI: So when you said you kind of knew each other's names, you didn't really know their real names, you just knew their, sort of their fake names?

HH: Well, the Issei and the Nisei, yes, I knew their names.

TI: But not the Japanese nationals? They had fake names?

HH: No, I think there was another one that I can't remember right now what the name was, but I don't know whether that was a fake name or an alias name. But the other thing is that we had a so-called prisoner, a Japanese soldier, in Ceylon in the compound. He would be able to... no, this was in Calcutta, that was captured, but he was not a regular soldier. He was one of those civilians, and his name was just Yamamoto, so I think, Yamamoto's a very common name like Johnson or Smith. So I don't think that was his real name. But he was able to listen to the radio in his own quarters, which was fenced off. But then we could go talk to him and everything else, and we addressed him as Mr. Yamamoto.

<End Segment 15> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 16>

TI: So with the bombing of, with the dropping of the atomic bombs, the war ended, Japan surrendered, and you had orders to return to Washington, D.C. But I'm curious, when the group sort of then broke up, how was that? You guys were pretty close, being together for a long time.

HH: Yes, well, I had to leave by myself first, and at that time, we all left to go back to New Delhi. That was where the headquarters of the OSS was, not Calcutta. So we had to take the plane and go to New Delhi, which was the first time we went. And it was much, much cooler, because it was closer to the Himalayas Mountains. Anyway, that's where I left them and I continued on into Persia, which was Iran, by plane.

TI: Now, was it pretty sad leaving the group at that point? Because you were the only one who left, right?

HH: Yes. They had to wait for a ship to bring them back. So that's where I left them, and I haven't seem them since then, except for one person.

TI: Did they, was there any special send-off for you, or did they just say goodbye?

HH: No, no. We did take, I think, a little trip around New Delhi on a bus one day, and then the next day I was shipped out, flew out, on to Iran, which is now present-day Iran, because of the army base there, and then on to Cairo and Bengazi and Tripoli, and then Casablanca, which was on the last flight out to Washington, D.C.

TI: So you got to go, literally, around the world.

HH: Just about, yes.

TI: You started in D.C. and you went all the way across the United States, took a ship all the way to India, and now you're going across through Europe, now, aren't you?

HH: No, I didn't go into Europe.

TI: Africa, I mean.

HH: Africa, but now I came all the way back to Washington, D.C. from India, and was waiting for my new assignment with the Strategic Services Bombing Service with the Air Force.

TI: Now, when you were, when you got your orders to go to Washington, D.C., did you know what they wanted you for?

HH: Yes, because that was the reason for my leaving the group, because I was assigned to... and if I remember right, in those days, it's hard for anybody to travel by, these are all military planes. But I was given the equivalent of number two priority, I think, which was like generals and such.

TI: So what would be a number one priority?

HH: Number one would be, well, I guess, generals, and the other rank, lower generals and officers, and I would think that possibly three might have been for pick-up of the GIs from Europe on emergency return to home or something. Because we didn't have any injured soldiers on the flight that we were going back. Because every place we stopped, like in Egypt and everything, Cairo, I was put on the number one priority. You know, the next plane that's going to be going back to Washington, D.C., I had to be ready to leave. So I could never unpack anything of my gear, because I had to be always... unless they told me that it won't be until the next day or whatever it is, that I was able to spend with the rest of the people maybe sightseeing into town or something like that.

TI: So they really wanted you back fast, and so they gave you that top priority.

HH: Oh, yes. So I was so surprised in a sense that I was able to keep on going, and I was never with them in the next lap or flight, because they were dropped off. And some of those people that I got to know were USO workers or WACs, because they were in service. But every place, they got on, next thing you know, they were not on the next flight. I was the only one that kept on going.

TI: That's good. I'm curious, you were in India. Why didn't they just send you to Japan from India?

HH: I don't know. [Laughs]

TI: Because it was so much closer, rather than going all the way around the world again?

HH: On that, there's another little interesting thing. I was on a detached unit of the OSS, and I was only a buck private. So getting this kind of a special thing was surprising; I was not even an officer. As an enlisted man, I was only a buck private. [Laughs] Anyway, that's kind of interesting. And it did occur to me later, why can't they just send me over, but I don't think there was a plane that was going directly from India to Japan, which would have been closer, really.

TI: Yeah, because they essentially sent you the long way to get there, at least, by the map.

HH: Well, I was attached to the air force, because the air force was the one that was conducting this Strategic Services Strategic Bombing Survey program that I was assigned to.

<End Segment 16> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 17>

TI: Is there anything you want to mention on the trip from, to go to Hiroshima, or to Japan, Tokyo? Is there anything else you want to talk about, or can we go all the way to Tokyo right now? I'm curious if there's anything else you want to talk about.

HH: Oh, well, just going into Tokyo from San Francisco, that's where we, I had to go. They sent me over to there and to catch a plane. I was with another group, I don't know who the other people were, but I was with a crew. Not my crew, we were on a morale section. Not to investigate anything, but structural kind of damage or something like that, more, had to do with the morale.

TI: So let's talk about this. So when you say you were there to look at the morale, how large a group was that?

HH: Well, I was the only one that could speak Japanese, except for there was a navy officer on the way up from Tokyo, first leg of it. But otherwise, I was the only one that could speak. And we only had, I think, only two or three, a captain and an enlisted man, a truck driver, and myself going up from Tokyo to Sendai, the first leg.

TI: Here's something I want to ask you. It strikes me as I think about this, even when you were with that initial group, the OSS, even though they weren't given official officer status, they were paid as officers. Because the army or the War Department recognized that the language abilities were really important and key to the war effort. And then this other group, you're talking about these other people, the ones with Japanese language skills, they're officers. And here you are, you were never given officer status. All the way when you were in India, you were, you said, a buck private. And then I think you were eventually promoted to, like, a corporal.

HH: No, that's after I... it was funny in a way, because I was under British commanders in India with the OSS. Then when I got assigned to the air force, I think they probably felt that they couldn't get me a commissioned officer, I guess, status. Anyway, I was busy replacing my stripes from private first-class to corporal, and then sergeant, and then eventually I got the rank up to staff sergeant. Really busy just sewing on the new stripes every about three months or so.

TI: So they would keep promoting you, but even though they gave you those promotions, your peers were really officers.

HH: Yes. Well, when we had to go and my job at the time was to set up this survey type, morale, so I had to go meet the mayor or governor, Japanese governors, or chief of police or something like that to get the kind of information that I need to conduct this survey of the Japanese nationals. But the officers that the OSS had were mostly lawyers, because President Roosevelt and the head of the OSS was also a general, Donovan, that headed the OSS.

TI: Right, so they were all made officers.

HH: Yes.

TI: And so what did you think? Did you think about that, that you weren't an officer? That didn't bother you or anything?

HH: No, it didn't. But what bothered me was that these officers that were supposedly to be, they were trained as naval officers, that they had in California or somewhere. But they were the ones that I was assigned to, and I thought that they were supposed to be trained as being able to read and speak. But I found out that they didn't, which is another story about what I thought about these officers.

TI: Because they were, quote, "trained" that they were given officer status, but you're saying that they weren't really very good in the language.

HH: Well, I thought that at least conversational things, they'll know what I'm, I had to translate for him, even though he was with me. And so I had to speak in Japanese and get the information that I need, and then I had to translate into English for him. And found out that by that time, I could say anything I want in Japanese and get the answer, and then I didn't have to, I could speak freely without letting him know what they had said.

TI: Interesting. So you were there to check the morale, so in Hiroshima you were talking to, you said, the police chief, the mayor... what I want to ask you is when you first got to Hiroshima, you were there not too long after the bomb was dropped. I'm curious, what did you see? What was it like when you got to Hiroshima?

HH: Well, when I went to Japan, it was, I think, I was assigned for six months' duty in Japan. So naturally we had a permit, had to get permission from MacArthur's headquarters in Tokyo. The same general who wouldn't accept the OSS group, but now we were with the air force and everything. But we still had to get permission from headquarters to operate in Japan. And so sometimes we had to know the off-limits area and everything else, certain areas. But that's about the only incident that I saw in Tokyo, but we were housed right in the center near the Tokyo Station. And the military intelligence, MIS people, MacArthur's intelligence deal, they were housed in a Japanese shipping quarters, right near us. So I thought I was able to at least talk to them if I saw them on the streets.

TI: You mentioned how you were under the air force. Now, was the bomb study, was that an air force study or was that an OSS study?

HH: No, now I was assigned to the air force because the United States Bombing Survey was a survey that they conducted in Italy, in the southern part of the bombing. There's a strategic bombing kind of a study, and that was more strategic type of bombing, bombing at will, like oil fields and things like that. But in Japan, they widened the scope, at least find out something about the morale, and that was a new organization, I mean, group that they formed, and I was assigned to that.

TI: But this was under the air force, an air force study?

HH: Yes.

TI: And the air force requested help from OSS, and that's how you got assigned?

HH: I think so, yeah, because after the war, I was asked to leave the group and get back to Washington, D.C, as soon as possible, I guess.

<End Segment 17> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 18>

TI: Okay, so we're into our third hour on this day. And I guess now I want to kind of focus a little bit more on your work, which was to study the, sort of the effects of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, in particular, with the people. And so you were part of this survey. But before we talk about the survey, I just wanted to get your first impressions of when you first saw or visited Hiroshima? What was it like?

TI: Well, Hiroshima was actually not, even the GI, U.S. forces, they were not able to enter into the city proper. They were on the outskirts, there was an infantry group, but they were not able to go in. So I was the only one that was able to go into Hiroshima, because they had navy doctors in a place called Ujina hospital, where all the victims of the atomic bomb were housed, and some of them were just still living in hospitals. And so I was able to see those people while I was staying in Hiroshima.

TI: And how much, how long was this after the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima?

HH: Well, this must have been into December, I think... in December. But by the time we went to Japan, I think we did go in September from San Francisco, and on the way up from San Francisco, we had to stop in Guam.

TI: Okay, so by the time you got there, so it sounds like about four months after the dropping of the bomb is when you actually got to Hiroshima. And even then, they didn't let sort of normal or people into that area, so you were one of the first people to really go in there, to really study the effects.

HH: Yes.

TI: Okay, so four months after -- and this is now in the wintertime -- what did it look like, Hiroshima?

HH: It was just like some of the pictures. I saw a streetcar that was all burned and still on the streets, and I saw all the area that, buildings with the domed, I don't know if it's an observatory or whatever it is, in the park area, which is now Hiroshima Peace Park. But it was all destroyed, everything. Because I was able to visit the city hall, I think it was, building, which is a concrete building, but I had to go there to see if I can find some information I needed. But I had the jeep and I was trying to drive around cemeteries. There's lots of cemeteries in Japan and Hiroshima's the same way, right in the residential area. And all the stones and markers would be kind of tipping one way 'cause it's concrete, or toppled over. And the utility poles would be scorched on one side. The bomb was supposed to be not in that area. It missed the target in a way, but it was away, supposedly they had a training, Japanese army, closer to the hills surrounding Hiroshima. Because Hiroshima is on a river delta, so there were a lot of bridges, concrete bridges or wooden bridge, and that was one of the problems that they had, was people trying to rush out. They thought it would be better to jump into the water, but many drowned or died. So that was added to the estimate that they had, was 30,000 or so. And I could visualize what kind of situation that it was, fire, Japanese homes are very easy to catch fires, and also it was done in the morning, and it was easy for the fires to catch. And so many died in their burning... because the houses were all devastated and everything. But in the hospital area...

TI: Well, do you remember, before we go to the hospital, what your feelings were when you saw that devastation?

HH: Yes. This was just like what I'd heard about before I went there, what Hiroshima was like. And it was just the way, because when I went to city hall, I was able to go up on the roof and take a picture, four ways. And only thing is it was all leveled except a few concrete buildings which wasn't a lot. But it's just a skeleton of it left. And that building that I was in, and there were already workers there, and I was able to interview some of those people or ask them, and then they told me about the windows and doors were all flying in, and so some were injured that way. And then they showed me some of the pipes that they had for water or whatever that were exposed to the radiation or heat, that was kind of melted.

TI: So these were metal pipes that were just sort of melted?

HH: Yes. So really, it was completely devastated. It was just... something you can't explain. I was more interested in seeing, one especially I saw, they had a newspaper, I think, that had a picture of a shadow created by the horse-drawn cart, and you could also see the shadow on the concrete bridge, there were many bridges in Hiroshima. And I was able to even see that exact place where the shadow of the man drawing the cart was cast onto the concrete bridge.

<End Segment 18> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 19>

TI: And then you were talking that you went to the hospital, so you were able to start talking to some of the people.

HH: Yes. Well, since there was no other military area, and there's no restaurants or anything like that left, I was housed in the hospital. And that's where I heard, I found out that the cook was employed, I guess, to cook for the hospital personnel. And I think they had some nurses, too, there, but mostly was navy doctors conducting a survey, I mean, a study of survivors, some of 'em, and some of 'em were body parts and things like that. They were making studies, I think, for radiation or something like that. But while I was there, I think I was there about three days. And at one time, I saw some children around, and they were playing around outside of the hospital. And so I kind of talked with them a little bit, and then I found out that those were this cook's, Japanese cook's children, and he told me that his wife and a daughter was a victim of the atomic bomb.

TI: And how, how did that make you feel when he told you that?

HH: Well, I thought, gee, here he's lost his family except these two, and I thought, wow, how can he work? But in those days, homes were destroyed and everything else, so I think he was a cook there anyway, so he was able to stay there and must have had a place that he could have his kids there, children, too. But I felt very, very bad about it in a sense, because I'm from, my parents were from, not Hiroshima, but one more, Yamaguchi-ken, which is one province south of Hiroshima. Very, very close.

<End Segment 19> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 20>

TI: Okay, so let's go to the survey next, and why don't you talk about who you talked with to do the survey.

HH: Okay. This is the time that we had to take... we were not going to take a train or anything like that for some reason. The survey, they had assigned a captain for the group, and a driver and myself, so only three of us will be traveling. And we had a jeep and a weapons carrier, which is a truck, which we had to haul gasoline and oil and whatever supplies and everything else. We left Tokyo, and on the way, we had to go to Utsunomiya, which is a little town. And we're going to Sendai, which is north of Tokyo. So somehow they decided to do that way, so we traveled up through there. And on the way, we could only see the children maybe playing around on the side of the road, which is all, not concrete pavement or anything like that, it was a dirt road. And people would be walking, if you're walking, they would be walking on that road because there was hardly any jeep or anything like that using that. But we saw the carts and horses and such along the way. And then...

TI: And what were you thinking when you saw all this? What were your impressions of Japan?

HH: Well, there was no... as we go past some of the little villages, as we drove up, we didn't see any adults, except kids, children would be playing around, but we didn't see any adults. I don't know, because we weren't a big caravan or anything like that, you know, but as we drove up, we didn't see any.

TI: So, why do you think that is? Why didn't you see adults?

HH: I don't know. They were not working in the fields because it was winter. I was kind of interested in seeing the children, and even the babies that these children had to take care of. They'd be playing around, but they'll have them strung up in the back, you know, and playing just like normally.

TI: Okay, so let's keep going. So then what happened?

HH: Okay. So on the way after Utsunomiya, we were going to Sendai. It took about three days, I think. Anyway, we had to find lodging, and so they had, I think they had a voucher that we could stop at the inns. And of course, at the inns, they always have a meal, but during the wartime and everything else, we were given whatever ration, I guess, that they had, rice and things. But mostly it was like Japanese sukiyaki, like, but not with meat or anything like that, vegetables, especially green onion, Japanese green onions. And the other two didn't like that meal too much, so they eat the ration that we had, canned deal. But I enjoyed the meal, and also taking a bath and living in an inn instead of the army base, because there was no army base all the way up. And some of the interesting things I found out, that some of the people, Japanese people did not know which way... this is supposed to be the National Highway, they called it kokudou, country or federal or whatever, like a highway. But it's more like a rural dirt type of roads, and so from there, we had to go stay on this National Highway. And so every once in a while, when it comes to a junction or something like that, we didn't know which way to go. So I would ask people there, they don't know where Sendai is. I said, you know, it's up north, but the only thing I could say is that Tokyo is the capital, and the emperor's palace is there. So I would ask for kyuujou. Kyuujou is the palace, emperor's palace, which way. They knew exactly, "This way," but then on my map, I said, okay, we're on the right one or, road I should be taking.

TI: So they would all know the way to Tokyo, but you were coming from there, so you would just go in the opposite direction?

HH: Yes. I was gradually going north, but there's a lot of villages and fields and everything else, rice fields, so it's very hard to cross. And one of the interesting things that we had, the jeep always went first, but the National Highway would be, in these villages, it was just between the houses. And the roof, thatched roof would be hanging down, we had to worry about, not the jeep, but the canopy over the truck, because you could hit these. So we had to stop and find out how else we could get back to the... the National Highway was right between rice paddies, and one place we had to keep going on that road, or we thought we had to, the jeep got, all four wheels were dropped between the two rice paddies. And there's no tow truck or anything else, so finally they said they could get a bus. At least it would be big enough that they can tow us out. We found out that this bus that they had was a charcoal-burning bus. All your vehicles, if they had any in the Tokyo area and everything, they were all charcoal burning, not gasoline.

TI: So they were able to change the engine so that it could be charcoal?

HH: Yes, in the back. They had a separate kind of place where they can make steam, charcoal.

TI: So it was steam-heated.

HH: Steam-run.

TI: So the charcoal would create steam, and so steam-driven vehicles.

HH: Yes, yes.

TI: Okay, got it.

<End Segment 20> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 21>

TI: So let's get to...

HH: So we were able to travel on the Japanese National Highway that way by detouring somewhere. The jeep has a little wider wheel base, but a truck is much bigger. But we were able to keep on going after that incident. Then on the way we had to go to the next province from Tokyo, which was Fukushima. And it happened to be that road looked like it was going through this place called Nihonmatsu in Fukushima-ken, Fukushima province. And I had letters that my mother-in-law, that she gave me, if I ever were able to mail it or something like that in Japan, in Tokyo, that she wanted me to have these letters to take with me. And also I had another letter from Minidoka camp for one of the Christian leaders in Tokyo, who was in hiding. Anyway, so I had some knowledge of people because my wife's family, mother, came from Nihonmatsu. And it just happened that we were going through that town, very small town, because it's more of a farming area north of Tokyo. And it just happened to be that when we stopped to inquire, we found out we were right in front of the house of the grandmother, Shiz's, my wife's grandmother. But there, only the children were there. And then by the time I inquired, there was a few older people, so I asked about the name and everything, and says, "Oh, it's here." So I knocked and nobody came out of the door, and so I went in and she was sitting there and I introduced myself. I think she was more worried about, I was wearing a uniform and everything else. But anyway, I had just a little chance to have a chat with her.

TI: So do you think she knew who you were after you talked to her?

HH: Yes, I introduced myself, that I have a letter from the daughter.

TI: Well, actually, the granddaughter.

HH: Granddaughter, that's right.

TI: So was she pleased, or do you think she was still more surprised than...

HH: No, because ever since after that, if we went to Japan, we would stop and visit them. And we found out that my wife had cousins still living there. So that was one of the spots that we always stopped.

TI: Oh, that's a good story. So let's...

HH: And then eventually... and another interesting thing is I was able to find two other aunts in that area, so that was some kind of strange kind of meeting, and I have pictures, big pictures of these aunts.

TI: So you had a camera during this period, so you took pictures, and you were able to keep some of these. That would be interesting to see.

<End Segment 21> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 22>

HH: Then eventually we went up to Sendai, and then I had to seek out the mayor to help us get the information we needed. The mission that we had to do was to get kind of like a population, like a census, some kind of document that we could take, like the head of our department was Elmo Roper, who is like a public opinion type thing, to get the people to get the... they relied on census.

TI: So these are like a public opinion poll, similar to what we call like Gallup polls, things like that.

HH: Gallup polls, yes, Elmo Roper. And so I had to ask him, we want some documentation, but he said these were all destroyed in even Sendai.

TI: I'm sorry, what was destroyed?

HH: The records of whatever...

TI: Oh, the records. Got it.

HH: Yes. But the Japanese, Japan did not have a census, so I had to improvise and find out what kind of things that you have to have. He said the best one is a rice ration list, which was a list, but it was all handwritten. And so my officer that I was... he said, "Well, okay, we'll use that," and he says, "I expect them to have this ready by tomorrow." Well, it was a case where it was a situation where the mayor said that he has only -- to me, in Japanese -- he said there was only two secretaries. And to hand-write all the names that we could use now to select every seventeenth name or something like that, each family, he says, it's very hard to do all this. So I relayed to the officer, and what got me was that he said, "You tell them this: you are a defeated country. Japan is a defeated country," and he says, "I'm ordering you to produce it. You tell them that, by tomorrow." So I had a difficult time explaining it to him, but I did say to him, I didn't tell him about the fact that, about "you're a conquered nation," I didn't have the heart to. Anyway, so I said, "Just do all you can, he will know. He wants it by tomorrow." I think that's what it was, I don't know how much of it was done, but pages and pages of it that we were able to get, and my officer was very happy.

TI: Oh, so that's interesting. So to do this study, what they wanted to do was kind of like what we call random sampling, but they needed to start with a list.

HH: Yes.

TI: And what you found out, the best list was the rice ration list.

HH: Yes, because that's very --

TI: Because everyone was going to be on that to get food.

HH: Yes, yes. Better than a census, really.

TI: And so they had it at the mayor's office, the city office, but then your, the captain wanted a copy of it.

HH: Yes.

TI: And he demanded it right away.

HH: There were no copy machine or anything like that. [Laughs]

TI: So the two secretaries had to hand-write as many as they could. You're not even sure how many they did.

HH: I think probably the mayor stayed also to help them, and so three... I think.

TI: But the thing that bothered you was the attitude of the captain who just kind of demanded this and wasn't sensitive to how hard this was.

HH: And how hard it was for me to tell him that.

<End Segment 22> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 23>

TI: So you got the list, and then you chose every seventeenth person to go...

HH: I guessed. That was the list, and we didn't do that. After we went back, we turned it into the headquarters. We were housed, our headquarters were just outside of the moat of the Imperial Palace, and then we were only about two long blocks away from MacArthur's headquarters in the Daiichi.

TI: But later on, I wanted to ask in terms of... so the survey was created and administered, what role did you have at that point?

HH: I think at that time, I was sent to Sendai to see... I was one of the early ones that went. And then they had teams of the, crew scattered over Japan, and one of the, group that I had to go after I went back to Tokyo, I was sent down with a crew of about four others. And went down to Okayama first, and then eventually down to Hiroshima. By that time, they had a questionnaire in Japanese that the crew was supposed to interview the ones that were selected. But it was only until I got to Hiroshima that we started interviewing, and sent the report back. And by that time, because we stopped at Okayama area first, there was some kind of indication that something isn't right about the survey, that they weren't getting proper or whatever answers to the questions.

TI: Hmm. So the answers they were getting wasn't what they were expecting, so they thought there was a problem.

HH: Yes, because it was geared to public opinion poll, I guess they word it a certain way. So I had to ask a chief of police who was in Hiroshima that was with us when they had the people come in, I think it was a police station, that we were interviewing. And so I asked him, I said, you know, something about certain kind of questions, there was one question about how do you feel about this atomic bomb, which is, in Japanese, genshibakudan. Bakudan is a bomb, genshi is, must be atomic or something. But he said that people, Japanese citizens, only that term, "I don't think they understand what it is." They know it's a bomb, some kind of bomb, so the answers that they were getting and compiling did not agree with the result of the headquarters back in Washington, D.C.

TI: And didn't agree because the people didn't understand what the term, they didn't know what the term...

HH: Oh, the answers were such, "not terrible" and all that, see. So I asked him, he said, "We use," in Japan, not only Hiroshima, I found out later, but even Tokyo or anywhere away from Tokyo, he said, "They only understand it as pikadon." Pika is like a flash, and don is like kind of a... there's a word that, like a sound, flash and sound. Pikadon. And that's the only word that they know. And then they found out that the answers were "terrible," one bomb.

TI: Okay. So as soon as they, so what you were able to do by talking to this police chief was to get the term that people understood.

HH: Yes.


TI: Okay, so we just were talking about how by asking this police chief, you got the term that people knew, pikadon, and so people, and so you then submitted that to headquarters...

HH: Headquarters in Tokyo.

TI: And they changed, so they changed the survey.

HH: They did make changes at the Washington, D.C. headquarters, and eventually I think it changed. By the time I was in the Hiroshima area it was changed. So I think the results of what they thought that they should be getting on that particular question about the atomic bomb.

TI: So do you remember how many people were interviewed for this survey?

HH: Oh, I have no idea, because the picture I have about the public opinion is to stack up a paper, how many, if it's real high on certain questions, yes or no, whatever, then unanimously this. So I think it was, it wasn't quite what they thought that question, especially on the atomic bomb.

<End Segment 23> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 24>

TI: Besides asking about the atomic bomb, do you remember any other questions from that survey?

HH: Oh, it was just the general questions about, "When did you think that the war was going to be over?" Well, in the Hiroshima area, there is a naval base, a place called Kure, K-U-R-E, a little navy base, and I saw the navy base there, and destroyers and some of the ships, because it's on the Inland Sea. And they didn't want those ships -- of course, they were already back in the base also, kind of, not in the water itself, they were kind of beached in a way, because in case it got bombed, it won't sink farther. So they were already in the base, because they didn't have any more fuel and whatever.

TI: So in some ways, already at that time period, the navy was almost ineffective, because they couldn't really do anything.

HH: Yes, because the Japanese fighters were not able to even challenge the U.S. airplanes, B-29s that were flying over Tokyo and dropping those incendiary bombs.

TI: So was the survey then -- I guess we're getting to the findings of the survey -- so people were pretty much saying that the war was almost over? That they couldn't fight back?

HH: Yes. I don't know whether some of the letters that they're sending to their family members or whatever about the conditions and everything, I think probably they might have said something about it, but since we did not get a chance to get into the Java area, we weren't able to, in the OSS time when we were in India and such, we were not able to finish up our mission to pick up intelligence like that.

TI: But in terms of the public perception, I guess if you read some of the newspapers from that era, the U.S. newspapers, they talk about how the Japanese public was willing to fight to the death, that they were having bamboo sort of stakes ready to fight off the American soldiers if they came to the shores of Japan and things like that. I mean, was this survey sort of to capture the true sentiment of the people and what they thought about the war?

HH: I think so. That's part of the survey, bombing survey, which they expanded from the European area.

TI: And so when the survey was done, then what happened next?

HH: Well, by that time, we were only assigned for six months' duty, so by May we were, myself anyway, I was going to be coming back on a ship.

<End Segment 24> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 25>

TI: But before we go there, because I'm trying to make this linkage, when you were a young boy, you lived in Japan for two and a half, three years...

HH: Yes.

TI: a location not too far from where this survey was being taken. A little further, I think, a little further south?

HH: You mean from Hiroshima?

TI: From Hiroshima.

HH: Yes.

TI: And so while you were down there, did you get an opportunity to go back and visit where you spent some time as a boy?

HH: Yes, I did get an opportunity, but it wasn't planned because I was on duty to go down to Hiroshima. But I knew where my parents' family and relations were, not too far, but I had to take a train to go to that area, because it's on an island called Oshima. And so at the time that I was supposed to leave with a group from Hiroshima that I was with, this sergeant was in charge of our group because he said, "Why don't you," after I told him where my grandmother and the rest of my wife's family... but down there is mostly my family, that I have an aunt and grandmother on my mother's side on that island. And also my father's family was just on the same island.

TI: Oshima.

HH: Oshima. And so he says, "Well," he says, "I'm going to tell the headquarters that I'm going to have you help me dispose of all the equipment and everything else, jeeps and whatever, and bedding and whatever, supplies, that I'm going have you help me." So he's not going to come back with the others on the train, and he said, "Then you could go down," he didn't know that I was going to stay, maybe just a day just to go down and take another train back to Tokyo. Because I had to go south and then had to go north to go back to Tokyo. Well, so I was able to go there.

TI: So this sergeant was being really nice, he was doing you a big favor by saying...

HH: Yes, yes, he knew.

TI: "So everyone else goes back on the train, so they'll go back to Tokyo right away, but I'll just say that you're helping me so that you'll have an extra couple days or so before you're expected back at Tokyo, which will give you the time to go visit your family."

HH: Yes.

TI: Okay, so then, so you go down.

HH: Anyway, it was to get into Oshima...

TI: Before you go there, I'm thinking a lot of families in Japan during this period after the war, there's rationing and they didn't have very many things. I'm thinking, did you bring them anything from the army or anything?

HH: Oh, yes. We had to return all these equipment and everything else, blankets and whatever. Anyway, this sergeant says, "We have some food, canned food, army canned food, things like that. Why don't you take some of these things?" Also we had cigarettes and candy and things like that. So I was able to take that with me, but before I can get on the train, I had injured my shoulder while I was up in the Okayama area just before I went to Hiroshima. So I had my right shoulder dislocated, I think. And so I had the arm in a sling, and I had to carry my things that I could bring over as presents or whatever, I couldn't haul it. So at the station in Hiroshima, I saw a group of young men playing around by the station there, and so I asked them, "Can you help me take this onto the train? Load it on for me?" They said, "Okay," I gave 'em cigarettes and candy. Anyway, when I got to there, the station... but before that, they said, "We'll go and help you unload it," go on the same train with me.

TI: I'm sorry, these young men?

HH: Yes.

TI: So the young men not only were going to unload the jeep, or get your stuff on the train, they were going to stay on the train with you, they said?

HH: Yes, so that, because I told them I had to go to Oshima. They knew that I had to go on a ferryboat, there was no bridge at the time. So they said they would help me, so okay, so I had them go -- it wasn't that far, really, but I think it took an hour or so on the train. And then when I got there, I saw the ship, the ferry, and so they said, "Well, we'll help you load it and unload it," going with us. These are small boats, ferryboats, but they also...

TI: So they went onto the ferryboat, too, and they went across.

HH: Yes, and they unloaded it for me. Because I didn't know, but it was getting dark by that time, and I was worried about what kind of transportation I'll have, bus or streetcar or what, I didn't know. Anyway, I also gave them some more little goodies, and they took it over and then they left me over there and they went back with the ferryboat. And then when I got over there, this is a town on the other side where the ferryboat lands. Anyway, it was almost getting dark because they don't have streetlights or anything like that. And so I had to go into one of the places over there to see if there's an inn or something like that that I could stay. And they said yes, there are, but then I said, "Is there a way that I can, bus or something, train or whatever, because this is on the other end of this island, and I have luggage and everything else." He says, "Yes, there's a taxi that you could, maybe if you could locate." So I asked this person, "Can you help me locate it?" Pretty soon, here comes an old Chevrolet charcoal-burning taxi, Chevrolet car, sedan car, it was equipped with charcoal, and that's how I was able to go into my mother's area first, little village. And it was already dark, but the only light I could see was a little vegetable stand which had one light on. And I inquired there where my uncle's place is, and it was just up the street, the same street. So I went, I left all my stuff there and I walked up there, and I found the house and I knocked on the door and my uncle came. And here I'm in uniform and everything else, but the first thing I asked is, I'm from Seattle, he knew who I was after I introduced myself. And I asked how my, I wanted to see my grandmother. And he said, well, unfortunately, she had passed away a year before, so I stayed with them and then I had the kids go down and pick up all my things and I stayed with them.

TI: So they must have been somewhat surprised to see you.

HH: Yes. And that was Christmas Eve, and then I stayed, not realizing... I knew I had to go back to Tokyo, because by that time, my sergeant would be already going back. But a day or so I thought may be okay. So I stayed there, and before I knew it, I had stayed until New Year's Eve. And they said, "Why don't you stay for New Year's?" And I said, "No, I got to get back to Tokyo." And so I left on New Year's Eve, and so I was actually AWOL, because I didn't have permission. So when I got back into Tokyo...

<End Segment 25> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 26>

TI: Before that, so you stayed a whole week, from Christmas Eve to New Year's Eve. It must have been nice for you to stay so long, for a whole week.

HH: Oh yes, because I was able to meet the rest of the family and also I've been there when I was young, on my mother's side, and I was able to visit the other side, on my father's side. And I was very fortunate that I met all my uncles, all seven of them, I guess, every one of them in a place called Agenosho, which is now called Tachibana-cho, Tachibana city. And so I had done more than just visiting my mother's family side, but I was able to visit all my father's side.

TI: How had the war affected the family? Was it hard for the family, what was the effect of the war?

HH: Well, on my mother's side, I found out that they had four of my uncles had already served in the first world war. And also, the one that I was staying with, that uncle was... no, my mother's uncle called Isamu, my aunt, the youngest aunt was married to this Isamu, he was still not listed as returning from, he was in the navy somewhere in the Philippines, so it was, at the time, he was the only one out of the four that had not been heard or reported that he was captured or whatever. So my thought was maybe probably his ship was torpedoed and all that. And actually, that's what happened, she was a widow with I think about six children.

TI: Was there any, what were their feelings towards you as, coming back as an American soldier?

HH: I thought that maybe they might be really afraid, and I don't know about the others, but not the other people that saw me, because they never had... just at the very beginning, the U.S. soldiers were on that island, too, I mean, just came, but they didn't stay there. And so I'm the only one, and being in uniform, but I think they probably thought that maybe I came to investigate or something, but my uncle, I think, assured them that no, I'm just visiting because I was in Hiroshima.

<End Segment 26> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 27>

TI: Okay, so today is February 2, 2006, and we're now starting our fourth session, our fourth day. And I'm Tom Ikeda, I'm the interviewer, on camera is Dana Hoshide, and this afternoon we have Mr. Hideo Hoshide to do the interview. So at the end of the third session, last session, we had just finished talking about you doing the atomic bomb survey in Hiroshima. And so I'm going to sort of pick it up from there. But actually, I'm going to backtrack a little bit. I wanted to go back to when you were with the OSS group, and you mentioned in our conversations how sometimes you guys would just sort of meet as a group and talk about different issues. And one of the issues that you talked about was after the war's over, how should the emperor be treated, whether or not he should be tried as a war criminal or not. And I just wanted to have you sort of recall the discussion you had with the rest of the members of the group.

HH: Yes, this is when we were still at Collingwood in Maryland where we were billeted, our crew, and then we had a meeting every day, and the whole group of us would meet together. And at that time, we did not have any -- at the beginning -- we didn't have any leaders or anything like that, and nothing was discussed about that. And eventually, he just, at these groups, group meetings, Joe Koide kind of took over, or he was automatically made... because he was most familiar with everything else I guess in Japan and everything else, because he had come from Japan. Anyway, we would discuss different things. At that time -- this is kind of getting later after the Pacific war was still on, but this is about the time that the war in Europe, European Theater was over. Anyway, the conversation or discussion turned to the fact about the war criminals, just like Hitler and such, and they were having conferences, the three powers, Churchill, Roosevelt and Stalin, at various places. And this happened after some of those meetings, conferences or group leaders left some of the other meetings, but this one, I think, refers to the Tehran conference where the three leaders met. By that time there were some discussions about the war criminals in Japan, including General Tojo and various leaders. Then the subject about what they should do to the emperor, should he be considered a war criminal also, it was in the newspapers and such. So naturally we, I guess some of the men kind of brought up the fact that what would be the best, because the U.S. was, I think, thinking in terms of getting more democratic type, and not continue the emperor's system or what, I don't know, but whatever it was, it was after the war in the future, what's good for the Japanese government. So the group, our group there, felt that possibly, after hearing various opinions of various people, that the emperor should not be considered a war criminal.

TI: So why did people think that? What were the things that they considered to decide that he should not be a war criminal?

HH: Well, for one thing, the emperor was considered by the Japanese people as a country that the emperor system was more or less descended from long time ago and mythologically or whatever, the emperor has got, that line of emperors had something to do with the goddess, sun goddess Amaterasu Omikami. Anyway, that the descendants or has kind of a connotation about the emperor being more or less revered by the Japanese people. And by treating him as a criminal, I think -- and we kind of thought so, too -- that maybe whether it's the truth or whatever, we can't tell now, but it is pretty hard to visualize Japan with... because they didn't have a democracy. And I think some of those people that we were working with had come from Japan and was with our group, the OSS, that they were more liberal or anti-militarists and whatever. And the military is the one that kind of took over, and also it just didn't seem like it was really the emperor's idea or whatever. Various reasons came out, but in order to make a democratic-type freedom of speech and all this, everything, that it was more or less unanimous by the time we got through that we should not consider the emperor, the system should be done away with.

TI: Okay, so the group consensus was pretty much that it was more the military was really the one to blame, and so that if anything, they should be the war criminals. And that the emperor, who was, who the Japanese still felt, or some still believe is the descendant of a goddess or god, that would be a hard thing for people to accept. So it would be better not to have him tried as a war criminal. So this was your discussion, so the group talked about this and you guys had a consensus. How was that, or was this ever communicated to other people in terms of your thoughts?

HH: Well, we didn't have any contact with others, we didn't even think of anything like that, but just as part of the discussion and everything. But we didn't know that several people had immediately made some efforts to, I think I learned later, that night, overnight, Joe Koide, who as I say, he was a brilliant man, he and Jin Konomi and another person, they all had been from Japan, that had sent a little memo to the headquarters, our OSS headquarters, that maybe this might have some influence on the OSS, possibly. Anyway, the memo was sent to the main office in Washington, D.C., Georgetown area. And so when we heard the radio broadcast shortly after that at the Yalta Conference, they said something about the emperor, and I think that's when they said that maybe the emperor's situation about the war and everything...

TI: Where they said at Yalta that the emperor would not be treated as a war criminal. And so do you think that -- so these three men, after your discussion, wrote this memo, sent it to the OSS headquarters, do you think it went any farther than that? Do you think that was actually used to help make this decision?

HH: Well, this I wouldn't know too much about where they got, maybe it might have been one of the things, so I felt that at least I had something to do with discussing about this with the group and everything. So not to get the credit or anything like that, but I didn't know until I learned later, in an article, that this Jin Konomi, he's from El Cerrito, near San Francisco, where I later met him. And he told me he had a copy of Joe Koide's published book, his autobiography, and then also, before that, there was an article written by Jin Konomi telling us about the newspaper, which appeared in the Pacific Citizen about this thing that we talked about and that Joe Koide had sent a memo.

TI: Okay. That's a good story.

<End Segment 27> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 28>

TI: Let's go back to right before you were leaving Japan to come back to the United States. Prior to this time, you had information that possibly one or both of your younger sisters might be coming to Japan. And so you wrote letters to them while you were in Japan sort of telling them what Japan was like. Can you describe what you wrote to your sisters?

HH: The thing that I recall now is that at that time, when I went to Japan, I knew something about the fact that what I probably would see will be more firsthand, the bombing and all that. I knew that there were firebombs and everything else, in Tokyo and every place. But I didn't know how bad. And also, back in the relocation centers, there were a lot of rumors and everything else, all kinds of rumors about it isn't as bad and all those things. So when I finally found out that I'll be going to Japan, I thought maybe when I get there I will see what the conditions are and maybe I can tell my sisters whom I left when I went to Minidoka.

TI: Because at this point, your sisters were still at Tule Lake.

HH: Yes.

TI: And large numbers of people in the segregation camp at Tule Lake were talking about or planning to go back to Japan. And you're saying that the rumor was that things were not that bad in Japan, so that's why a lot of them were thinking that they would go back to Japan. And you thought you would go to Japan, when you were in Japan you would really see what it was like, and then communicate back to your sister.

HH: Yes, this goes back to these "no-no" questions, "no-no," "yes-no," or whatever, loyalty questionnaire. And I knew that my two sisters were married, or eventually married Kibei, and so they were a little more... maybe I should describe what Kibei is or Nisei --

TI: No, that's okay, because we'll have it described. So there was a, so you thought there was a good chance that they might come to Japan. So describe what you wrote in your letters in describing Japan.

HH: Well, when I first got into Tokyo and saw the devastation of Tokyo Station and such, where we were right near the emperor's palace grounds and everything, and I walked around the so-called main road, which everybody knows, and if you're going to Japan you go to Ginza-dori, which is Ginza Way, which is more of the business areas and all the stores. Well, it was just all devastated. There was nothing standing, really. But in Tokyo there were more concrete or some were granite stone type of construction, hotels and such.

TI: So when you saw all this, when you walked around and saw it for the first time, was it what you expected, or was it worse than you expected?

HH: It was much worse than what I had expected. Although around the imperial palace and the new buildings, big office buildings and such were more or less prepared for earthquake and things like that, the buildings were more modern, you wouldn't even know whether you're in L.A. or anyplace like here, Tokyo especially. But the outskirts area or even Tokyo Station was hit also, and also with firebomb, the incendiary bomb that they dropped, that fire razed through.

TI: Right, so the area was devastated. How about the people? Did you see very many Japanese when you were walking around, and what was that like?

HH: Well, what surprised me was that all around, right by the Tokyo Station, they had salvaged whatever tin roof or any kind of material that they can gather, they had like a shantytown. People just living, it was terrible to see that, but you didn't see too many people walking around or anything, but even like in Tokyo Station, on the outside and I presume also inside, but homeless kind of people that you might see over here with the cardboard boxes and such to sleep on. They were everywhere. I was surprised, really, how bad it was in Tokyo when I first got there.

TI: And so you described all this in your letters to your two sisters.

HH: Yes, that this is what I saw, and it's really, really terrible here. They were having a hard time getting food, produce and everything else, and I said, "This is no place to be coming back."

TI: Did you ever get a response from any of your sisters, from these letters?

HH: No, because later, after we got together, I did ask my sister, the older one of the sisters, Yaeko, that, "I wrote a letter to you and Mutsumi," the other sister, what I saw, and not a place to come to, go to right now. "But the best thing, in case you were to come back, register with the American embassy that you're an American citizen and such, and you accompanied your husbands," because they were already married and such. "This is what you should do."

TI: Okay, that's good. But as you say, the sisters didn't receive the letters, and I think your youngest sister, Mutsumi, ended up taking the Gripsholm with her husband and going to Japan. But you never did get a chance to see them.

HH: No.

TI: And instead, you came back to the United States.

<End Segment 28> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 29>

TI: So let's pick it up there. So from Japan, you came all the way to the West Coast, and I think you ended up initially near Portland by Fort Vancouver?

HH: Yes.

TI: So that's, and Fort Vancouver is really, from Seattle, just a few hours away. It's not too far away from Seattle.

HH: Three, three hours.

TI: Yeah, about three hours. So, but then you're on duty, so you can't really go to Seattle. So instead, you mentioned how you tried to call your wife. So why don't you describe what it was like calling your wife and what that was like.

HH: Yes, this is Fort Vancouver barracks, they call it, in Vancouver, Washington, which is across the Columbia River from Portland. And it's right on the Columbia River on the Vancouver side. And this is where they had us stay, because this was a military base. And we were able to get on the telephone, but we had to take turns. And so I waited a long time until I was able to get on the telephone, and called back to Seattle. And I knew that they were coming back from the relocation camp, Minidoka, and all the camps were being closed anyway. And they were now relocated, and people that want to come back to the coast area were able to come back. And my wife's family had already come back to Seattle, and so I got their telephone number and I was able to call. And naturally my wife answered, and then she put my daughter Sachi on the telephone.

TI: Sachi, this is January 1946, she was born in 1943?

HH: Yes.

TI: So she's, what, about two-and-a-half or so years old?

HH: Yes.

TI: Okay, so she's two-and-a-half, and then what happened?

HH: Well, I was very surprised when she talked to me in Japanese language, not English. And it kind of shocked me because I haven't seen her more recently, periodically I did stop in at the Minidoka camp if I'm going down to, say, California or something like that en route, I would stop. But because she was with my mother-in-law's family, I think she picked up all her Japanese.

TI: So it was your wife's mother that was probably taking care of her a lot, and she was teaching her or talking to her in Japanese, and that's what she was learning. So her first language was Japanese, not English.

HH: Yes.

TI: Now, how did that make you feel? Was that kind of funny or was it...

HH: No, it just surprised me that she spoke Japanese to me.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 30>

TI: Well, and then they only had you there for two or three days at Fort Vancouver, and then you had to go back east, because you still had to write this report about the bomb survey.

HH: Well, I didn't know that I was slated to do that. We had to go back because I was still in the service and I had to go back to my base which was the air force base, and then report back that I'm back here. Because I was not discharged yet, I was still in the service.

TI: So you weren't sure what you were going to do, but when you did get back there, you found out that they wanted you to write this report?

HH: Yes, that was assigned that this would be, because I thought that I have to go back there that way to get discharged anyway, but there was no thought about discharge or anything like that at the time. I had to go back to Washington, D.C., and then whatever, but they assigned me to go to the government printing office and work on the report, the final report of the bombing, or about the survey. But included in there was the... there were several other publications connected with the report, and one of 'em was -- which was the main thing -- was the Hiroshima one. It had a big map of where the target was and such, so that's when I learned more about what kind of situation it was, and in that report, I think we reported thirty thousand or so killed in various ways. So I learned a lot about what happened, and a little more about it, working on this final report.

TI: How about the part that you worked on? Do you recall any of the findings from the survey that were included in this report?

HH: No, no, I did not get -- I don't know why -- but I don't recall working actually, I think it was probably in some of the reports, other reports, because there were quite a few smaller publications relating to the bombing survey.

TI: So what kind of writing were you doing, then, during this period? When you said you worked on the report, what did you have to do?

HH: Well, I more or less edited the thing, so I did not do too much original writing of the report itself. But I tried to get a copy of it several years later when I found out that there was a report like that published by the United States printing, government printing office. I sent in a request to buy some, and these were the reports that I do have a copy of those, but I don't recall one pamphlet or whatever, booklet, that was written about just the morale division that I was assigned to.

TI: Okay. So while you were in D.C. writing this report, your wife was also there with you in Washington, D.C. I'm curious, when the two of you were in Washington, D.C., do you recall any sort of excursions or small trips that the two of you took while you were on the East Coast?

HH: Oh, yes. I have to backtrack just a minute. When I went back to D.C., I was working at the government printing, but I was living off the post. I had to because there was no army or air force facility that I could stay, so I was also just living by myself. And then I think around about March or so, I had a chance to have my wife and daughter come out with me, because I didn't know how long I have to stay before I got discharged from the military. So finally I was able to get a chance to have her come out, so I sent a telegram to her in Seattle that if she'll come on a certain day, I think it was March 20th or something like that, I finally met her at the Chicago train station. And I wrote to her that I'll be coming in on a certain train from Washington, D.C. So we met in the Chicago train station, and then from there we took another train, local train, to Rockford, Illinois, where my brother-in-law was already living. And I left my car with him, so I went to get the car so I can drive there, and drove all the way up to Washington, D.C.

TI: And so with that car in D.C., because you were there for months, did you have any interesting trips while you were...

HH: Well, the thing was that I had a chance to take them to all the sightseeing places and zoos and whatever, because I had a daughter. But most of our trips or whatever it was, they would have concerts, army band or navy band or here and there around the Washington, D.C. area. So that was more or less, it was free -- [laughs] -- and also it was more or less... how can I say this? Because except for just weekends or something like that, I had to be still working, getting the report all done, so I remember going out to the Arlington Cemetery. So I did have a chance to take them around here and there.

TI: Okay, I just wanted to ask that.

<End Segment 30> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 31>

TI: So in August of 1946, you were finally discharged from the army.

HH: Yes.

TI: And at that point, your work with the report was done, you were discharged, and you had your car. So you, your wife, and your daughter drove back to Seattle.

HH: Yes.

TI: And things happened, but I thought let's jump all the way back to Seattle and just talk about, how did it feel for you to come back to Seattle after all these years?

HH: Well, I didn't know how things were in Seattle, because after I saw the Little Tokyo area, all the stores were boarded up and "No Japs" signs and everything else, but by the time I came back, I didn't see any of that. And some of these Japanese offices and businesses around Jackson Street and such were already operating.

TI: Well, so, here's a question. So when you think of what Seattle looked like before the war, right before the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the way it looked, and then now coming back in sort of August, September 1946, was it pretty much the same, or were there differences? And if so, what kind of differences were there?

HH: I don't think it was too much different from what I could remember just before the war, except around where Uwajimaya is now, down in the Chinatown area, that's all fill area. And what I can remember, when we left, it was more or less open and we used to see little shantytown kind of atmosphere. But aside from that, I didn't think it was much different around Pioneer Square area or anything like that.

TI: How about the size of the community? Did it seem about the same before and after the war?

HH: Well, it was a little different as far as the residential area running from Jackson Street, Main Street, which used to have a lot of Japanese stores. Some of the stores had opened up, but I think most of the residential area was up around Twelfth Avenue, Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Yesler Way and around that area more. Because before the war, up in Beacon Hill area, some of the Japanese did have grocery stores and such up there. But there weren't that many Japanese even moving back to their area up that way. Otherwise, I think it just looked like it was more concentrated toward the more Jackson Street and north, rather than south.

TI: And so coming back, where did you decide to live?

HH: Well, originally, my wife and my daughter were living with her parents. It was a three-story wooden building, home, so it was on the corner and it was fairly large, and it was large enough for us. So actually, I stayed there until I could get settled down, because I did not have any work and job or anything like that, so I decided to maybe take advantage of the GI bill to go the University of Washington and take some more... graduate school.

TI: Because you had already, I mean, so before the war, you had already graduated with a degree in political science with a minor in journalism, so you went back to the University of Washington to get a master's degree?

HH: Not a master's, but just because we were given some stipend to attend after the war. So I took kind of graduate courses, general graduate courses, and also working at the newspaper, the Northwest Times.

<End Segment 31> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 32>

TI: Okay, so you came back to Seattle, went back to general graduate school courses, so you got a stipend for that, but you also worked for a community newspaper called the Northwest Times. So let's talk about that a little bit. So what was the Northwest Times? Was this in existence before the war, or did it just start after the war?

HH: No, the Northwest Times was started by Budd Fukei and when he learned that I had come back to Seattle, he had already started a paper which was just a weekly at the time, and he wanted me to work with him on the paper. And originally, it was like, well, I thought maybe he would want me to go in together like a partnership, but since I had to go to school and everything else, I just kind of went to just help him get started getting the paper going. So I thought maybe that might be something I could be doing after the war. But that was what the newspaper was. And also, I was surprised in a way that he called the paper Northwest Times, not Seattle. A community paper, he expanded out more into outlying areas or northwest, even including Yakima and Wapato, that area, too. We had some, just voluntary-type correspondence that they would send a little news. So it was more local Seattle news, but there was nothing else there. But all in English.

TI: But it sounded like at some point Budd Fukei had ambitions for this to be much larger, and by calling it the Northwest Times, he saw it more as a regional. And you also mentioned at the very end that it was English-only also. And so how, so who would support this? This would be primarily the Niseis who had come back that would read this and support it with advertising dollars and subscriptions.

HH: Yes.

TI: So how well did it do during this period?

HH: Well, I don't know the financial side of it, but it was hard to operate because he had to get all the press and the linotype machine and equipment that it was not all paid off and everything like that, he was just getting started. So I'm sure that it must have been hard to get support of the... well, he had to get support of the businesses, and they were also just getting started, too, but we did get going and able to get at least a fairly good paper for the community.

TI: Now, were you working in a similar way on the sports side?

HH: Yes. I handled the sports, I was more or less listed as a sports editor after that.

TI: Now, was Budd's idea also to start up sports leagues under the Northwest Times?

HH: No, there was nothing like that, because it was hard enough to just get the local paper and get it mailed out and all this.

TI: So I'm curious, so the Northwest Times was an English-only, and you were working on it. Before the war, there was the Japanese American Courier, which was English-only, too. Was there ever any discussion about starting up the Japanese American Courier after the war in Seattle with Jimmy Sakamoto?

HH: No, there was not, because Jimmy Sakamoto was in Minidoka, and he had, after the relocation centers were closed, 1945, I think it was. See, now, I'm at late August in '46 that I came back. So they had a little more chance to get reorganized again, the churches and such. So really, I came back much later than some of the other people.

TI: But did Jimmy Sakamoto come back to Seattle?

HH: Well, then I know Jimmy came back, but he was not working, I mean, not putting the paper out again, continuing. He was working, apparently, with the St. Vincent...

TI: Yeah, St. Vincent de Paul.

HH: de Paul, yes. It was close to Lake Union, and to answer phones or some of the requests, the office work.

TI: So why do you think Jimmy Sakamoto didn't try to start another newspaper after the war?

HH: Well, I think it may have something to do with the evacuation and such, all the JACL people who were leaders were not too... to be able to become leadership, like newspaper editor and such, publisher and such. I don't think it entered his mind that he would continue, because he wasn't really that stable before the war, too, because it was hard to get the readership -- not the readership, but paid subscriptions by the younger generation, 'cause the majority were still in school, not even out of high school.

TI: Okay, so it sounds like Jimmy Sakamoto and the other JACL leaders, before the war, they were more in a leadership position, but the whole wartime experience, what happened, it sounds like, that their leadership role was diminished. And so after the war, Jimmy didn't start another newspaper partly because of that, because he wasn't really a leader.

HH: I think so, and at the same time, it might have been very hard to get started with getting all the equipment and things like that, that maybe he was not able to finance it. But since he had a chance to work for St. Vincent de Paul, which was a Catholic organization...

<End Segment 32> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 33>

TI: So eventually, as you got settled more and more, you moved out of your in-laws' house.

HH: Yes.

TI: So where did you settle? Where did you go live?

HH: What do you mean by that?

TI: So, I mean, I'm sorry. You, your wife and your daughter, where did you guys move eventually in terms of where did you live?

HH: Oh, yes. After a while, we decided it would be better to find another house. And so I looked around the Beacon Hill area and such, and also even farther south. But we wanted to kind of stay closer to the Japanese area, Jackson Street area. So we did find a house on Beacon Hill, a corner house, and it was very... when you think about it from now, it was only $8,750 for a corner house. But it was more or less built right after the war, and it was a very small house, a two-bedroom house. But anyway, it was somewhere we were able to get a house, and we bought a house there.

TI: Now, were there very many other Japanese families in that area?

HH: Yes, in that area there were a few, not a lot, but when we looked around the Beacon Hill area, the farthest south, I remember it must have been around about the golf course area, so it wasn't really too far. We thought that that was pretty far south anyway, but there were a few people living a little farther south, but not too far away from the Rainier Avenue, Rainier Beach area and such. So some already had houses around that area.

TI: And so your house was, I think earlier you said, like, on College Street, right around there?

HH: Yes, it's on Eighteenth and College, yes.

TI: I know that neighborhood because I grew up on Nineteenth and College.

HH: Yes.

TI: So during this period -- I'm jumping around a little bit -- but you had your first daughter, Sachi, Janet Sachi, who was born at Tule Lake in 1943. And then in 1947 you had your first son, Robert Isamu?

HH: Uh-huh.

TI: And then in 1951, in March, you had Linda Yoshi, so you had three children. I'm curious, can you talk about the naming of your children? How did you come up with the names for each one?

HH: Oh, well, I had the naming of my oldest daughter, Sachi, and Sachi was already named when she was born in Tule Lake. And at the same time, I decided to name her Sachi because her grandmother, my mother-in-law, her name was Ko, K-O.

TI: So your wife's mother's name was Ko.

HH: Yes. And so the Japanese character is written the same character, but the Chinese reading, so-called Chinese reading and Japanese reading, Ko is the more formal character reading, and the Japanese or common name, you could use as a name, I named her Sachi.

TI: Oh, so Sachi was named after her grandmother, or your wife's mother.

HH: Yes.

TI: And then where did Janet come from?

HH: Janet was our choice, my wife and I, and I don't know where it came from, but we named her Janet Sachi.

TI: Okay, so let's go to the second one, Robert Isamu. Where did those names come from?

HH: Robert came, there was no problem there. I named him after my friend Bob Johnson, who had a lot to do with my life from Lincoln High School days.

TI: Okay, that's where Robert came from. How about Isamu?

HH: Isamu is my uncle's name on my mother's side, Isamu.

TI: And so he was one of the uncles that you lived with in Japan?

HH: No, the younger, Linda's name is named Yoshi, the character is the same, like Linda, and Yoshi is the same character for my uncle's name, Yoshio, and Linda's name, Yoshi.

TI: Okay, so Isamu was your wife's uncle, and then Yoshi is named after another uncle from Japan?

HH: Yes, on my mother's side.

TI: On your mother's side. And then Linda, was there anything with that name?

HH: No. [Laughs] I don't think so.

<End Segment 33> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 34>

TI: So, let's continue. So we just finished talking about your children, and again, so we're right after the war, you're back in Seattle. And here now you had a lot of the Japanese American veterans returning to Seattle, also. And today there's an organization called the Nisei Veterans Committee, and I'm curious, how did that get started after the war?

HH: Well, I have to kind of think because when I was... I was also working at the Northwest Times, and we did have some contact with some of the veterans because there was a column that they had in there called "Ex-GI Joe." But I never found out who was doing the writing.

TI: So this was a column in the Northwest Times that was written anonymously? That it was just by "Ex-GI Joe," but no one really knew who it was other than Budd, I guess Budd would know.

HH: Yes, Budd would, I'm sure, have known. And we would get a column maybe about every other issue or something. But it was kind of a regular column started. But they were not talking about it, but in one of the articles, they had a little announcement about maybe forming an organization. And it was just like that, because we didn't have any kind of organization to have even a meeting or anything like that. And I believe that's where it started, a group of people who were kind of getting together and talking about it. I think it had something to do when we got organized, and then somebody started saying that maybe we should make it into a club. So we did have a meeting -- and during this time, now, most of the information about the meeting and Nisei Vets and everything, we were able to publish it in the Northwest Times, and that's where I was able to contribute any information or articles that needed to be in the paper.

TI: Now, I'm curious, as this group was organizing the Nisei Veterans Committee, this club and this group, when I think about other communities, other Japanese American communities on the West Coast, a lot of the veterans formed groups that were aligned with, say, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the VFW, or the American Legion. Why didn't the Seattle group align themselves with one of those organizations?

HH: Well, for one thing, it was more or less the main group of original veterans over here were from the 442nd, really, because they served together and everything and had contact with each other and everything. At the same time, they knew each other anyway. But, see, for myself, I was not in the 442nd, and I'm also from out of town, from Tacoma. But they knew me from before the war when I worked for the Courier, and I knew them, too, through that way. So it wasn't hard for me to get together with them because they would ask me to... they, I guess, assumed that I will publish any kind of information about meeting or something like that, I could have access to the Northwest Times. Because it was more of a Seattle community news, but any kind of information like that would be in the Northwest Times. But we didn't know how many of 'em were able to buy or were subscribing to the paper at the time, too, so when we have meetings, we used to get penny postcards and address it to the ones that we knew were veterans and had their addresses, we would mail out meeting notices or anything like that.

TI: Right, but I was wondering why the group, when they first formed the group, why they didn't become an American Legion organization or a VFW organization.

HH: Well, that's the idea that we were not all from the 442nd, and some of the Nisei were already in the service before the evacuation. And so we had... not like in Hawaii where it was more just 442nd or 100th. And so I think... and at the time, I think there was, in order to organize, the question came up about the American Legion. American Legion was not too much for the war anyway, second war, so I think they were worried about which veterans' organization that we could be affiliated with, because we didn't have any idea that we were going to form a separate organization. But we were able to be with the VFW organization, and there was a disabled veterans, because Nisei were also veterans, disabled veterans. So some of those people were already getting affiliated, and eventually even the American Legion Post, Chinese had become members when they had a post. But at the time that we were getting organized and everything else, even the name "committee," because we were chairmen. Just like in some other organizations, of course it was going to be a veterans' organization, but the name "committee," I know some people always ask us, why was it "committee" instead of "club" or such. But I think that was... and so the original commanders, so-called commanders, were just started as chairmen.

TI: Right. But I want to go back again, so I want to make sure I understand. So at one point, the group was considering aligning themselves with either the VFW or the American Legion?

HH: Any of the veterans' organizations.

TI: Yeah, either one. Right, so these were already established national organizations. So why didn't they? I mean, ultimately they formed their own separate group called the Nisei Veterans Committee. Why didn't they become like the Cathay Post, like the American Legion, or VFW? Why didn't they?

HH: Well, I think they didn't consider American Legion anyway. But instead of going into the VFW, I think they decided to form a club, a veterans club, but they named it the Nisei Veterans Committee.

TI: So they just decided that they would rather just form their own club rather than join the bigger one.

HH: Yes.

TI: And do you know why they decided that?

HH: Well, because there were so many people that were not in the 442.

TI: But the MIS guys, because many of them were fighting in the Pacific, and you also served overseas, wouldn't you be qualified to join the VFW?

HH: Yes, we could have joined, yes. But I think they thought that it would be better to just form our own independent organization. Like Hawaii, the 442 Club, instead of, it's separate from the national. And in those days, to form your own national organization like a Japanese veterans and such, it was very difficult to get your charter government to form a separate organization.

<End Segment 34> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 35>

TI: Okay. So once they decided to form the NVC, then what happened? Did you guys meet on a regular basis, were you at those meetings? What was it like?

HH: Well, the first meeting that they had was at the Buddhist Church auditorium because it was a large enough place. But we did meet in the Buddhist Church for the meeting and tried to have all the veterans come. So I think we original charter members, I believe we had around two hundred or three hundred or so registered for the, sign up as charter members.

TI: And then as an organization, what kind of activities did the group want to do?

HH: Well, our organization was more or less organized as a social type, where we could meet together. That was one of the main things, that we didn't have any place to get together, because we didn't have a hall or anything like that. So we kind of relied on the Buddhist Church because they had a little larger facility. We did, since we didn't have any office or anything like that where we could call it, I think at the beginning, I think we were using one of the insurance companies like Ogishima Insurance on Jackson Street here. Their office more or less has -- because he was one of the original ones that was organizing, or part of the organizing group.

TI: Okay. But then eventually you did get your own facility. Can you talk about how that came about?

HH: Well, that building that we have used to be, originally, the kendo, Japanese fencing, organization that was built just before the war by the fencing group. And during the war, being a Japanese martial arts kind of organization, the government took over the building. And so by the time we came back, it was being used during the war as a place for the maritime sailors, or maritime seamen, they were housed there by the government. They used it as housing. And when we came back, it was going to be returned, but the organization was already disbanded.

TI: This was the kendo club, was disbanded?

HH: Yes. But the property was still there, and they knew it was a community-organized club that we were trying to organize. Some of the board members or previous board members of the so-called kendo group said that they would turn it over to our club, and this is how we were able to get... I think it was a tax owed somewhere around a thousand dollars or something like that, tax owed on it. And we were able to negotiate to get the property by paying the tax.

TI: This is interesting. So it was, essentially, you paid the taxes on there, the back taxes, but the building was essentially given to you by the community leaders? Are these like Issei leaders that gave this to you?

HH: Yes. Well, it was kind of a club... how can I express that? These buildings, churches and such, even though it might be a Buddhist church or a Baptist church or whatever it is, Japanese organizations, when they built their facility, it more or less was helped by the community, the fund drive consists of... this is kind of something that I think carried over from their own experiences in Japan. Although they were not leaders, but the community all came in and helped. I remember if a farmer had to build a shed for storage of vegetables or something like that, it's really like a community affair, they all came out to help each other.

TI: So this is interesting. So the Issei, when it came to, like, building or helping to build say the Japanese Presbyterian Church, it wouldn't just be the congregation who raised the money, it'd be the wider community.

HH: Yes.

TI: The same thing with the Buddhist Church when they did something, or it might be the Japanese language school, everyone would chip in. It was sort of this large community effort to even, to build these facilities, even though it might serve just a smaller segment. And this was more for the Isseis, who were thinking this way?

HH: Yes. It came, I think, from the time that they were coming over as workers, when they're in the early days when they were able to come to Hawaii, it was more or less getting into a foreign country away from home and everything, and they didn't have any organization as such, just a group of people. So generally speaking, you will find that groups of people that are in certain kind of business or farming, you find that it comes on a prefectural basis, like ken people helped each other even though they did not know each other. If they said that the only close relations that they have will be either your, from the Hiroshima area or Yamaguchi like us, so they depend on each other.

TI: Do you think that was carried over to the Nisei generation? Do you think that they have that same feeling, that either from the larger community or from their ken, that they would do similar things?

HH: I think, in my own feeling, I think we lost that because we were more... we were not more used to community, thinking in terms of community as a whole. I think we were more individualistic, and if you were of a certain club or something, including all different... but we did not consider ourselves from the Yamaguchi-ken or anything like that. Individually we might have thought that, but I don't think the Nisei, didn't think too much about having to help each other out, except maybe for friends or relations, naturally we'll be more or less involved like that. The Isseis, for some reason, I think because of the fact that they didn't know each other, and the only ones that will be... because by relationship, their own relatives and their friends and such came from the same areas, or generally the same area like province in Japan.

TI: That's interesting. So there is this generational shift that happened between the Isseis who were more -- I mean, they were immigrants coming in, and maybe there was a need, too, to help each other a little bit more. But how the Nisei generation, what you're saying is that they're perhaps a little more individualistic and less aware of or supportive of the larger community and more interested in maybe, not only them and their family, but maybe the individual group that they're working with and didn't do as much. That's interesting.

<End Segment 35> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 36>

TI: So I want to go back to the Nisei Veterans Committee, because after it was formed and it became a thriving organization, you had the role of working on the newsletter. So can you tell me what the newsletter was and what the purpose of that was?

HH: Oh, the newsletter was started, really, by Joe Hamanaka, because I was still involved with...

TI: The Northwest Times?

HH: The Times at the time and everything. And also that I didn't have much chance to work, because all the other people already had a little more time to get established. And when I finally wanted to maybe go into something else, so I did leave the Northwest Times and I was able to find a job with the Boeing Company.

TI: But so with the newsletter, though, you started working on that after Joe.

HH: No, we were working together, but -- I was with them from the beginning, but I said I'll help, so that's why I was with him all the time. He's the one that organized.

TI: But eventually you were more involved, or worked more over the years.

HH: Yes. The idea about starting a newsletter at the same time was that all the meeting notices, I said, "Let's put it out," so instead of writing out the addresses and everything about the meeting on the penny postcard, I said why don't we publish a little mimeograph paper, and also we could include the meeting notices and whatever. And so we... and the meetings were once a month, so we would set the meeting on the last Friday of each month, and the paper will be gotten ready for publishing according to the meeting.

TI: So how many years did you work on the newsletter?

HH: Well, I was involved really thirty years altogether, but it got that way because it was more, not just writing, but we had to, like the mimeograph, we had to crank it out by hand and such, and you had to cut the stencils, you had to be able to type. And it was only not the women was involved in the paper, and I was able to type and everything else, too. But it was kind of time-consuming, too, so anyway, we started that way with mimeograph paper, and then eventually when they asked me to take over the paper as editor, then I set it up as a house organ, which is kind of limited to the membership. But I realized that if we were to have a paper like that, we have to also include other public events or activities that were going on, to inform our veterans. And so it almost became like I invited the community churches and such, if they were having bazaars and such, I would invite them to send a notice about it and then I would include it in our Nisei Vet paper. So it was a little different from a regular house organ, especially only for the membership.

TI: So it was almost like a combination house organ and community newspaper?

HH: Yes. It had to be that way because we didn't have any other paper, really, after Budd decided to quit.

TI: So in those thirty years that you worked on the NVC newsletter, were there any sort of stories or editions that kind of stand out in your mind as an interesting one?

HH: Well, I think one of the most memorable ones would be the Nisei Vet national, so-called national reunion, Nisei Veterans reunion, which was held in Seattle in '64. And that was two years after my stint as one of the commanders. I served in 1962 to 1963.

TI: And so what made that national reunion or convention so memorable?

HH: Because we, before that it was only held in Hawaii, and we were able to go and request that maybe we should have it on the mainland, every other time rotate between Hawaii. So we were able to make a bid for it at one of the reunions, and we were given the opportunity to hold it on the West Coast. And because of that, we were really able to use the facilities in Seattle, like a parade down Fourth Avenue, and we all dressed in, whoever could still wear their uniforms. And most of 'em were still able to wear their uniform, and we marched down. And it was very impressive, we felt, because we were able to have a regular city parade.

TI: And I'm thinking about the NVC, you mentioned most of them were from the 442, and here you were from the OSS primarily, and furthermore, you were from Tacoma. Did they ever ask you what you did during the war, and how much could you tell them in terms of what you did?

HH: Well, I did tell them I worked for Office of Strategic Services, but I thought that because it was, my letters were censored and everything else, that I wouldn't be able to tell them too much about what I did, about the organization and what I was involved with. But they knew that I went to China/Burma/India area, and they knew it was intelligence-type service. But there was never too much questions asked about what I did. It was more that I had to tell them that I'm not the original 442 veteran, but I was in the military service.

<End Segment 36> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.

<Begin Segment 37>

TI: I just want to make this observation. We've been talking now over four sessions, and something that keeps coming up are these, sort of what I call these connections. How things like your writing career connected so many things, from Bob Johnson getting you into journalism and how that has been this, sort of this thread for the community: working with the Courier and then the camp newspapers, then the Northwest Times, and the newsletter. It seemed like you were always there in the community helping to write about the community. Another kind of thread has been your involvement with sports, I think you got to know lots of people through sports. And then also there is also that connection in terms of how you got into the OSS. Through Collins at the UW, after you graduated from the UW and then you got recruited and he was then later on your commanding officer for you. Any thoughts about that? Why all these connections in your life?

HH: No, this is one that this friend of mine who is very good in Japanese language, once told me about this word tsunagari. It's a Japanese word which means "connection." And then all of a sudden I started thinking, gee, I do have that kind of a life that seems to kind of have interconnecting kind of deal, just because I was... well, this is after I graduated from high school, is the fact that my friend Bob Johnson asked me to register at the university. And then coming to the university I had to come from Tacoma to Seattle, and the only way I could go to school was to kind of batch or live away from the campus and everything, because I wouldn't be able to finance it, although the tuition was very, very cheap considering what you'd pay now. [Laughs] Anyway, in those days it was very hard. But because of that, I had a chance to work for the Japanese American Courier and also Jimmy Sakamoto.

TI: Right, so you have all these connections. Do you think there was, do you believe in destiny, that it was supposed to be that way?

HH: [Laughs] No, I don't think that way, it's just strange that I'm connected in that way. All through my life after high school, it just seems strange in a way, because even when I was in Japan with the U.S. Bombing Survey, and we had to go north into Sendai area from Tokyo. On the way, we had to go through one the provinces which is Fukushima, which is just north of Tokyo, and as we were on the so-called National Highway, passed through this little town called Nihonmatsu in Fukushima...

TI: Right, where you met your wife's family.

HH: Grandmother.

TI: Grandmother.

HH: And also two aunts right there because my truck and the jeep that we were taking on this trip just happened to stop in front of the home of my wife's...

TI: I know, and it seems like all these, what it reminds me of is almost like a novel. You know how novels have these connections throughout, and your life story to me read or came out almost like a novel in terms of all the threads and different things and all the connections, and that's what struck me.

HH: Yes. So it just seemed like whatever I did, I was kind of involved in more or less historical events, and I'm very glad that I'm able to live through this whole life of mine. I'm now eighty-eight years old, and it seemed like it just had this series of connection kind of thing that went through my life after high school.

TI: So looking back eighty-eight years, any regrets in your life?

HH: No, I can't say I have any regrets, but I feel fortunate that I was able to live through that period of time, with the war, which we thought would never happen, and also my life. If I didn't come to Seattle to go to the University of Washington, I can't figure out now what would I have done. But that's part of my life, that what happened was just more like a series of interacting events, which had some quite significant historical...

TI: No, I agree. As you probably know, this is one of our longer interviews, but I think it was because there was so much historical importance in this interview. So I want to thank you for taking all this time to be interviewed. It's been a real sort of pleasure and honor on my part to do this. So thank you.

HH: Okay, thank you.

<End Segment 37> - Copyright © 2006 Densho. All Rights Reserved.